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Full text of "The life of Tolstoy"


















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LIFE 



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THE 







of Tolstoy 












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BY 









PAUL BIRUKOFF 





















TRANSLATED FROM THE RUSSIAN 















With Rembrandt Photogravure Frontispiece 

and 16 Black-and- White Plates 









GASSELL AND COMPANY, LIMITED, 

London, New York, Toronto and Melbourne 

1911 

















































































































33^ 




Si 3 




78127ft „ 



* 



ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 






















































PUBLISHERS' NOTE 









Among the late Count Tolstoy's intimate friends 
it is a matter for regret that, in the English language, 
there is no reliable biography of the great Russian 
teacher. In their opinion all existing works are 
marred by the entirely wrong standpoint from 

* 

which the authors regard, and try to expound, the 
important facts of Tolstoy's life and the tenets of 
his philosophy. 

M. Paul Birukofl was one of Tolstoy's closest 
friends, and Tolstoy himself actually collaborated 
with him in the present work, and selected per- 
sonally the letters and other documents from 
which extracts have been quoted. With re- 
markable knowledge of his great compatriot's 
private life, M. Birukoff has also brought to 
his task an understanding of Tolstoy's ideals and 
a peculiar gift for sober, unbiased criticism. 

For this English edition M. Birukoff, with the 
approval of the executors, has written a prefatory 
note and a short account of Tolstoy's latter days. 



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PREFACE 









* 

The newspapers of November 12, 1910, com- 
municated the fact that Leo Tolstoy had defi- 
nitely left his home at Yasnaya Polyana. From 
that moment the whole civilised world, with intense 
interest, began to follow all the movements of 
the " Grand Old Man." Not only had he left 
Yasnaya Polyana, but he had decided to isolate 
himself from the world. This act, unexpected by 
the public but long anticipated by intimate 



friends, revealed again the 




of Tolstoy, 



and conquered even the hearts of the most in- 
different sceptics, till then smiling superciliously at 



S 



his 



ii 



eccentricities. 



55 



Whatever may have been the determining 
private factor of his departure, the chief cause was 
the contradiction between his conception of life, 
growing more and more definite and distinct, and 
the mode of life which he was obliged to follow at 

Thus his departure was the act of a man 



home. 



energetically and sincerely true to his words 
which many people were doubting him to be. 
was owing to this fact that his action produced 



It 






























Till 



PREFACE 



so magical a change in public opinion, especially 
among the numerous people who, though admir- 
ing Tolstoy, never took him quite seriously, think- 
ing that he would be unable himself to carry out 
the message he preached to others. 



The 



events following 



his 



leaving Yasnaya 



Polyana, and his illness at Astapovo, only increased 
the deep public interest. His death came as 
the inevitable epilogue of an act for the continua- 
tion of which his strength was not sufficient. 
It was a majestic conclusion to a great life, which 
had been one incessant struggle for truth, reason, 
and love. 

This short biographical sketch is an attempt to 
give the reader a simple enumeration of the chief 
events of Tolstoy's wonderful life, and an indication 
of the inner, spiritual development of his great soul. 

P. BIRUKOFF. 



15 



St. Petersburg, ~q April, 1911 


















. 






CONTENTS 















I. 






CHAPTER 



1. Tolstoy's Forbears 



2. Childhood, Boyhood and Youth 

3. Military Service 

4. Literary, Educational and Social Activity 

5. The Death op his Brother Nicolas 

6. Tolstoy's Educational Work . 



PAGE 



3 
11 



26 



39 



50 



57 



II. 



7. The Early Days op Married Lipe 

8. The Anna Karenin Period 






9. The Crisis 



10. "What then must we do ? " 

11. Popular Literature . 



» 



III. 



69 



80 



88 



95 



102 



12. The Spread op Tolstoy's Influence 

13. Further Literary and Social Activities 



14. The Years 



Famine 



109 



118 



124 



























X 






CONTENTS 









CHAPTER 



15. The Dukhobor Movement 









16. Excommunication and Illness 

17. The Jubilee op 1908 

18. Tolstoy's Flight and Death 

List op Tolstoy's Works . 
Index .... 



PAGB 

131 
136 



142 



146 

157 
165 



' 




































■ . 

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

Leo Tolstoy (from the painting by Repin) Frontispiece 

FACING PAGE 

Tolstoy's House at Yasnaya Polyana ... 8 

Tolstoy as a Student 20 

Tolstoy in the Unieorm of an Artillery Officer . 20 

The Kazan University in Tolstoy's Student Days 20 

Tolstoy's House at Moscow 28 

Tolstoy in 1876 34 

Tolstoy at Work at Yasnaya Polyana . . 42 

Tolstoy in 1895 52 

Tolstoy on the Road from Moscow to Yasnaya 

Polyana 60 

Countess Tolstoy 70 

The Family Circle at Yasnaya Polyana . . 82 

The Count and Countess in the Crimea . . 90 

The Last Portrait of Tolstoy — Taken Six Weeks 

before his death 98 


















Xll 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



FACING PAGE 



The Last Illness. Tolstoy in his Bedroom, talk- 

- 

ing to Dr. Makovitski 



The House in which Tolstoy Died 



The Death-Mask of Tolstoy 



Tolstoy's Tomb 



Facsimile op Tolstoy's Will 



104 



110 



126 



140 



152 
































































































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THE 






LIFE OF TOLSTOY 



CHAPTER 




tolstoy's forbears 



Fifteen versts to the south of Tula, on the old 
main road to Kieff, lies the village Yasnaya 



Polyana. Close to it, but separated by a hollow 
and a pond, is picturesquely situated the old 
Volkonsky manor house, which came into the 
Tolstoy family through the marriage of the Prin- 
cess Marie Volkonsky to Nicolas the son of Count 
Eliah Tolstoy. 

This Princess Marie Volkonsky and Count 

■ 

Nicolas Tolstoy were the parents of Leo Tolstoy, 
who was born on August 28, 1828, at Yasnaya 
Polyana, where he spent the greater part of his 
life, thus in Leo Nicolaievitch Tolstoy the blood 
of two famous families was united — that of the 
princely family of Volkonsky and that of the 
Counts Tolstoy. 

The origin of the Tolstoy family is not definitely 



3 



























4 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 



known. Some historians believe that the founder 
was a German. Others suppose that he was a 
Lithuanian, and still others trace his descent 
from a Tartar Khan. The first Count was Peter 
Tolstoy, a distinguished statesman, an able poli- 
tician, and a grand seigneur. A dark stain on his 
memory remains, however, on account of his active 
participation in the assassination of the Tsare- 
vitch Alexis, the son of Peter the Great. He was 
appointed Chief of the Secret Service by Peter, 
and generally enjoyed the close confidence of the 
Emperor and, later, of the Empress Catherine L, 
on the day of whose coronation he was created a 
Count. But when Peter II., the son of the assas- 
sinated Alexis, came to the throne, Count Peter 
Tolstoy lost his position. He was deprived of his 
title and, at the age of eighty-two, deported to the 
Solovetsky Monastery on the White Sea, where he 

* 

- 

died shortly after. The title was restored to the 
Tolstoy family in the reign of the Empress Eliza- 
beth, the daughter of Peter the Great. 

The grandfather of Leo Tolstoy, Count Eliah, 
was, as we know from his grandson's testimony, 
a simple-minded man — kind, soft-hearted, gay, 
and not only generous, but somewhat of a spend- 
thrift. Dinners, theatrical representations, balls, 
card-playing, and parties were constantly taking 



























TOLSTOY'S FORBEARS 5 

place at his country-seat ; but this mode of life 
ended in the large property of his wife becoming 
so heavily mortgaged that the pair had nothing 
to live on, and Count Eliah was obliged to solicit 
the post of governor of the Kazan province, which 
he obtained. His wife, the grandmother of Leo 
Tolstoy, born Princess Pelagie Gorchakoff, had 
received only a superficial education, but never- 
theless she spoke French better than Russian. 

* 

She was generally a much-spoilt woman. 

The ancestors on Tolstoy's mother's side, the 
Princes Volkonsky, trace their origin to Rurik. 
At the beginning of the fourteenth century 
Prince John, of the thirteenth generation from 
Rurik, received the fief of Volkonsky, situated on 
the River Volkonka, in the present province of 
Kaluga and Tula, and from him the family of 
Volkonsky is descended. Leo Tolstoy's maternal 
grandfather, Prince Nicolas Volkonsky, after an 
eventful career in the service of the State, re- 
signed, married Princess Catherine Trubetskoy, 
and settled in Yasnaya Polyana, inherited from 

his father. In his memoirs Tolstoy says of 
him : 

" Princess Catherine died early and left him 
an only daughter, Marie. With this much-loved 
daughter and her French companion, my grand- 













































6 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 










father lived till his death in 1821. My grand- 
father was considered a very severe landlord, but 
never heard any stories of cruelty or punish- 
ment, so usual at that time. I think these existed, 
but the house servants and peasants, though 
they freely criticised my father, when 




tioned them about 



my 



ques- 
grandfather appeared 



so deeply impressed by his imposing personality 



and his intelligence that I heard nothing but 
praise of his intellect, his management of the 
estate, his care of the peasants, and especially of 
the house servants. 

' ' Evidently he was a man of extremely re - 
fined tastes. All the buildings he constructed are 
not only solid and comfortable, but exceedingly 
handsome. The same may be said of the park 
laid out by him in front of the house. It seems 
that he was also very fond of music, as he kept 
a small but good orchestra entirely for his own 
and my mother's pleasure.* During his morn- 

■ 

ing walks in the park, this private band used to 
play for him. He hated hunting, bat was a 
great lover of flowers and exotic plants." 






orchestra of serfs. Unti 
bic families used to send 



middle 



their serfs to Moscow and St. 
Petersburg to learn arts and crafts. Returning often as 
accomplished artisans and even artists, they nevertheless had 



am 



to take their places as serfs. — Translator. 



























cc 



TOLSTOY'S FORBEARS 7 

Shortly after the death of her father, Princess 
Marie married Count Nicolas Tolstoy. About 
his parents we read in Leo Tolstoy's personal 
reminiscences : 

My father was of an average height, well 
built, of a vivacious, sanguine temperament ; he 
had a pleasant face and always sad eyes. Though 
not an expert, he occupied himself during his 
whole life with the management of his estate. 
However, he possessed one remarkable quality 



for that period. Not only was he not cruel, but 







even rather lenient, so that during his lifetime 
never heard of corporal punishment being 

administered on his estate." 

The character of the relations between Leo 
Tolstoy and his father may be gathered from the 
following description : 




remember him sitting, with his pipe, on 
the leather-covered sofa in his study, where we 
used to go to bid him good-night or to play. 
He petted us, and sometimes, to our great 
delight, allowed us to crawl behind his back on 
the sofa whilst he continued to read or to talk 



to the steward or to my godfather, S. Yazy- 



koff, who often was staying with us. I remem- 

- 

ber him coming down to us children and draw- 
ing pictures which appeared to us the highest 


















8 THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 






perfection of art. On another occasion he made 
me recite Pushkin's poems, c To the Sea,' and 



' To Napoleon,' which I liked very much and 



had learned by heart. Evidently he was/ struck 
by the pathos of my recitation, and, listening 
until the end, exchanged a significant look with 



Yazykoff. I understood that he saw something 



good in my recitation, and I was very happy. 

Nicolas Tolstoy, at the age of sixteen, had 
entered the army, and took part in the campaigns 
of 1813 and 1814. Having been sent somewhere 
in Germany as a courier, he was taken prisoner by 

■ 

the French and was not liberated until 1815, when 
the Kussian army entered Paris. The war over, 
he retired from military service. Shortly after, 
his father, Leo Tolstoy's grandfather, died, and 
Nicolas was left with a ruined estate and a spoilt 
mother, who was accustomed to luxury and of 
extravagant habits. His relatives arranged his 
marriage with the rich Princess Marie Volkonsky. 

Princess Marie was a remarkable woman in 
every respect. Leo was only eighteen months old 
when she died, so that he had no recollection o 
her, but from what his aunts and other inti- 
mates told him, he created a very tender, loving, 
and beautiful image of his mother. In his 
memoirs he gives some of her characteristics : 




















u 



TOLSTOY'S FORBEARS 9 

By a strange coincidence not a single portrait 



of her exists, so that I cannot represent her 
to myself as a real, physical being. Partly, I am 
pleased with this, because in my imagination 
exists only her moral personality; and all that 




know about her was beautiful, and I think that 
was not because the people who told me of her 
wished to say something kind, but because there 
really was great goodness in her. 

" My mother was not handsome, but very well 
educated for her day. Besides Russian, which she 
wrote grammatically — an exception in her time 
she knew French, English, German, and Italian, 
and she must have had an artistic disposition. 

" She played the piano well, and her friends 
told me that she had a great talent for telling, 
and even improvising, stories. But the most pre- 
cious trait in her character was her self-control, 
although by nature very excitable. Her maid 
used to tell me : ' Sometimes she grew red all 
over, even cried, but never used rough expres- 
sions.' She did not know them. My mother 
spent her childhood partly in Moscow, partly in 
the country with her father, an intelligent, proud, 
and gifted man. Her life at home with her father 
was, as I can tell from letters and from what I heard, 



very happy and pleasant. I was told that my 

































10 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 






mother loved me very much and used to call me 
mon <petit Benjamin? She appeared to me 



such 

a pure, moral being, that often in the middle period 
of my life, when I was seized by doubts, I prayed 
to her soul for assistance, and that prayer always 
helped me." 



Such 



is 



the 



spiritual image 



of 



Tolstoy's 






mother. His father also died early, when Leo 
was only nine years old, and the children— 



—four 

brothers and one sister — were left in the care of 
an aunt. 






- 




















































CHAPTER II 



/ 






CHILDHOOD, BOYHOOD, AND YOUTH 

Much about Tolstoy's childhood is to be found in 
the fragmentary memoirs he wrote for various 
editions of his works. His novel, " Childhood, 
Boyhood, and Youth," cannot be considered a 
true picture of his own early days, as in it reality 

is blended with imagination. 

His recollections went very far back. He 

faintly remembers how he was swaddled, and 
bathed in a tub. 

"It is a strange and awful thought," he says 
in his " First Recollections," " that from my birth 







to the age of three, during which time I was 
suckled, I began to crawl, to walk, and to speak ; 



yet in spite of all my efforts I cannot find 
anything to remember except the two facts of 



swaddling and bathing. When did my existence 



commence ? When did I begin to live ? And why 
should it give me pleasure to represent myself at 
the beginning of life, and dread seizes me, as it 
does many others, at the thought of re-entering a 






ii 


































i2 THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 









non-existence of which there will be no remem- 
brance expressible in words ? . . . From a five- 
year-old child to my present self is only a step ; 
from a new-born infant to a five-year-old child the 
distance is enormous ; from an embryo to a new- 
born it is immeasurable ; but between non-exist- 
ence and the embryonic state the distance is not 
only immeasurable but also inconceivable." 

In Leo Tolstoy's first clear recollections he saw 
himself playing with his nurse, Yeremeevna, and 
the German male nurse, Theodore Eessel, described 
in " Childhood " under the name of Carl Mauer. 
Further, there was Tatiana Yergolsky, a distant 



relative of the family, but called by them " Auntie, ' 
and to Tolstoy the dearest person in the world. 
According to his own words, after his father and 
mother, she had the greatest influence on his life. 

She was a gentle, loving woman, but at the 
same time of a strong, decisive character. To Leo 
Tolstoy she was a second mother. With the 
exception of a few years which he spent in Kazan 
and in the Caucasus, they passed their lives to- 
gether under the same roof of Yasnaya Polyana, 
where she died in 1875. Tolstoy describes her 
beneficent power over him in the following words : 

" Aunt Tatiana had the greatest influence on 
my life. It was she who taught me while yet in 
























CHILDHOOD, BOYHOOD, YOUTH 13 

my childhood the moral joy of love. Not by 
words, but by her whole being she imbued me 



with love. I saw, I felt, how happy she was in 



y> 



loving, and I understood the joy of love. That 
was the first lesson. The second is that she taught 
me the beauty of a quiet, lonely life. 

Another person who had a strong and good 
influence on his childhood was his elder brother, 

■ 

Nicolas. In the following words Tolstoy speaks 
of this elder brother and the childish games he 
was in the habit of inventing for his younger 
brothers : 

" Nicolas was six years older than I. He must 
have been between ten and eleven years, and 
between four and five, when he was leading 





us to 'Fanfaron Hill.' I do not know how 
happened, but we children used to address 
him with c you.' * He was a remarkable boy 
and, later, a remarkable man. Turgenef quite 
correctly observed that he only lacked the imper- 
fections necessary for the making of an author. 
He did not possess the principal and necessary 
defect — vanity ; he was not at all interested in 
what people thought of him. But the qualities 
of an author which he did possess were a refined, 






Russian, as in French, in familiar language " thou 



used, — Translator. 





















/ 









14 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 



artistic instinct, an exceedingly delicate sense of 
proportion, a good-natured, gay humour, excep- 
tional and inexhaustible imagination, and high 
moral conceptions ; and all this without any con- 
ceit. 
he could tell humorous tales and ghost stories 



He had such an imagination, that for hours 



in the style of Mrs. Radcliffe, with so much earnest 
ness and such an air of reality that one forgot 

it was fiction. 

" When I was five years old, and my brothers 

■ 

Dimitri and Sergius six and seven, Nicolas an- 
nounced to us that he possessed the secret which, 
known, would make everybody happy. There 
would be no illness, no trouble, nobody would 
feel anger against another, and people would begin 
to love each other and live in ' Ants' Brother- 
hood.' (Probably he meant Moravian Brother- 




hood * about which he had read or heard 



but 






in 



our children's minds it was * Ants' Brotherhood.') 
I remember that the word ' ants ' especially pleased 
us, reminding us of the ants in their hills. We 
even invented a game of ' Ants' Brotherhood.' 
We crept under chairs, placed boxes around them, 
covered up all chinks with handkerchiefs, and sat 
in the darkness pressed against each other. 




remember that I used then to have a particular 






* The Russian for " Ant " is muravei. — Translator. 





















GHILDHOOD, BOYHOOD, YOUTH 15 



feeling of love and tenderness, and I liked the 
play very much. 

" The secret of the ' Ants 5 Brotherhood ' had 

1 

been disclosed to us ; but the great secret — how 
to banish all unhappiness from life, all disputes 
and anger, and to make people happy for ever 
this secret, as he told us, he had written on a 
green stick, and the green stick was buried near 
the road along the hollow by the old wood. As 
my body must find somewhere a resting-place, 
beg that I may be buried on that spot in memory 
of my brother Nicolas. 

" Besides this stick there was somewhere a 




' Fanf aron Hill, ' to which he might lead us if we 
could fulfil certain conditions. These conditions 
were : First, to stand in a corner and not to 



think of a white bear; (I remember how I stood 



in the corner, and tried hard not to think of 
that white bear, but without success; (second, 
to walk along a straight line without stumbling; 
and third — which was easy — during a whole 
year not to see a hare, whether dead, alive, 
or roasted. At the end of all to swear not to 
disclose these secrets to anyone. 

" The ideal of the ant brethren clinging 
lovingly together, not under two chairs covered 

■ 

by handkerchiefs, but under the wide, blue vault 







































i6 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 



of heaven and embracing all mankind, 






has 



re- 



mained. 



As 




believed then in the existence of a 



green stick on which was written the secret which 

■ 

would do away with all evil in humanity and give 
great happiness, so I believe now that there exists 
such a truth ; this will be divulged to mankind 
and all promises will be fulfilled." 

Leo Tolstoy speaks also of his other brothers : 

" With Dimitri I was comrade, Nicolas 

respected, but Sergius I adored, imitated, loved, 




and 



wished 



to 



resemble. 




worshipped 



his 



handsome exterior, his singing (he was always 
singing), his drawing, his gaiety, but especially, 



strange to say, his frank egoism 




always used 



to be self-conscious, and always felt and guessed, 
rightly or wrongly, what others thought and felt 
towards me; and that always spoilt the pleasure 



of 



my 



life. 




so 



For 




That is probably why in others 
much liked the very opposite — frank egoism, 
that reason I particularly loved Sergius. The word 
' love ' is not correct ; I loved Nicolas, but Sergius 
worshipped as something strange and foreign to 
my nature. Such a human life appeared to me 
beautiful, but quite incomprehensible and mysteri- 
ous, and was therefore especially attractive." 

The brother Dimitri, in his youth, was very 
religious and unselfish; his self-sacrifice bordered 
























CHILDHOOD, BOYHOOD, YOUTH 17 

on asceticism, which undoubtedly had its influ- 
ence on Leo. 

It is necessary to point out yet one other 

influence bearing on his early childhood which 
Tolstoy himself recognises. His family observed 
all the traditions and customs of the Greek Ortho- 
dox Church. One of these customs was the 
hospitality extended to all sorts of pilgrims — men 
as well as women, to monks and nuns, and to 
Yurodivy. The latter is a strange manifestation 
of piety, but has undoubtedly its historical 
meaning. It reminds one somewhat of Eastern 
dervishes, but is quite characteristic of Russian 



popular life, and it left a deep impression on 
Tolstoy in his early childhood. 
On this subject we read in his memoirs : 

Yurodivy Gregory is a fiction. Many of them 



(c 









passed through our house, and I was taught to 
look upon them with great respect, for which 




am deeply thankful to my elders. Even if hypo- 
crites were amongst them, or if in their lives there 






were periods of weakness and insincerity, never- 
theless the aim of their lives, though practically 



absurd, was so high that I rejoice that from my 



very childhood I unconsciously learnt to appre- 
ciate the loftiness of their purpose. They carried 
out the saying of Marcus Aurelius : * There is 



c 


















I 















\ 















18 






THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 















nothing higher than to bear contempt for your 
good life.' The temptation to glorify oneself is 
so pernicious and unavoidable, and so inter- 
mingled with all good acts, that one cannot help 
feeling sympathy for those who not only try to 
evade praise, but actually provoke contempt. 
Such a Yurodivy was my sister's godmother, Maria 






Gerasimovna, the simpleton Evdokimushka, and 
some others." 

All these influences created the peculiar, charm- 
ing, poetic-spiritual atmosphere of Leo Tolstoy's 
early childhood, and made it possible for him to 
write in such enthusiastic terms on the memories 
of that time : " Happy, happy past years of child- 
hood ! How could I fail to love and cherish their 
memory ! Their remembrance refreshes, lifts up 
my soul, and is the source of my greatest delight." 

The children grew up and required increased 
attention. For the sake of the more serious 
studies of the elder brother, Nicolas, the whole 
family removed to Moscow. 

Just at that time three deaths occurred, one 

_ 

following the other : first, Leo Tolstoy's father, 






r 



eighteen months 



later 



the 



grandmother, 



and 



finally the aunt and guardian of the children 



Baroness Osten-Saken. 



The 



guardianship 



passed to another aunt, Pelagie Yushkofi. 



then 
She 






























CHILDHOOD, BOYHOOD, YOUTH 19 

was living at Kazan and brought all the Tolstoy 
children there, for whom a new life opened. This 
happened in 1841. Leo was thirteen years old, 
and certain definite traits began to appear in 
his character. " Boyhood " gives some auto- 
biographical material. Vanity was one of those 
character traits of Leo Tolstoy against which 
he had to fight hard, and which probably more 
than once troubled his peace of mind. In his 
childhood this manifested itself in a rough, primi- 
tive, naive form. He was particular about his 
appearance, and was miserable when he saw in 

the mirror that he was not handsome. His shy- 
ness, the opposition of vanity, also caused him 
much suffering. He early developed a disposition 
to reason and to analyse, certain definite sceptical 
conceptions being the result. 

This is what the hero of " Boyhood " says : 
" No other philosophic system ever carried me 
so completely away as scepticism, which at one 
time brought me to a state bordering on madness. 
I imagined that nobody and nothing existed in the 
whole world save myself — that objects were not 



objects, but images appearing only when I paid 



attention to them, and the moment I ceased to 
think of them those images immediately dis- 



appeared. In a word, I agreed with Schelling's 



























20 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 






conviction that no objects exist, but 







my rela- 



tion to them. There were moments when, under 
the influence of this fixed idea, I had reached such 



f> 



a degree of absurdity that I sometimes turned 
abruptly to the other side in the hope of catching 
a glimpse of the void. 

Developing irregularly, but rapidly, Leo Tol- 
stoy reached adolescence and entered the Univer- 
sity of Kazan. His three elder brothers were 
already there. He first chose the faculty of 
Eastern Languages, but not passing his examina- 
tion at the end of the first year, he went over to 
that of Law. Here things went a little better, 
but nevertheless, towards the close of the second 

* 

year, his zeal had considerably cooled. His studies 
were carried on irregularly. His ardent, passionate 
and independent nature could not adapt itself to 
the routine of the instruction given at that time. 

On the other hand, the social life of his guar- 
dian, Yushkoff, who occupied a prominent position 
in the highest society circles of Kazan, attracted 
him to worldly pleasures. Balls, theatres, visits, 
etc., filled his winter hours, effectually hindering 
his studies. Besides, being a young man inclined 
to independent intellectual work, once absorbed 
in some subject he neglected every other. All this 
certainly did not tend towards success in his 



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Tolstoy as a student. 



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Tolstoy in the uniform of 
an artillery officer. 




The Kazan University, in Tolstoy's student days. 










































r 






- 













* - 






CHILDHOOD, BOYHOOD, YOUTH 21 

studies. Often he missed lectures which he dis- 
liked, and once even was put in the University 
gaol. At repetitions and examinations he received 
bad marks. But a sympathetic subject once 
found, he gave himself up entirely to its study, 
thoroughly thinking it over. Such a subject usually 
aroused his creative power, and some literary work, 
of which the manuscripts still exist, was the result 
such as, for instance, an essay comparing Mon- 
tesquieu's " De P Esprit des Lois " with Catherine's 
" Instructions " (Nakaz). This was a university 
thesis chosen by the noted professor of the Kazan 
University, Meyer, one of the few who had an 
influence on him. 

At that time Leo Tolstoy was already writing 
a diary, and attempting to describe his observa- 
tions on his surroundings and the exposition of 
his philosophic ideas. All these writings are imbued 
with high moral sentiments. In March, 1847, for 
instance, he wrote as follows : 

have changed much, but I have not yet 
reached the degree of perfection (in my studies) 




which I want to attain. I do not carry out what 
I decide to do : what I do. I do not well : I am not 



training my memory. For that purpose I write 
down a few rules, which, it seems to me, will greatly 



help if I keep to them : 

































22 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 









<C 



1. What you have decided to do, do in spite 



of everything. 






i< 



<< 



2. Whatever you do, do it well. 

3. Never consult a book for what 









forgotten, but try to remember it. 



you 



have 












<t 



4. Force always your brains to act to their 



utmost capacity. 



(C 



a 



5. Eead and think aloud. 

6. Do not hesitate to tell people if they hinder 



a 



you. At first give them a hint ; if they do not 
understand (that they hinder you), apologise and 

tell them so." 

Further on he says: 
Society is a part of the universe. Eeason 
must be brought into harmony with the universe 
with the whole — so that by studying its laws one 
may become independent of society, as a part 
of it. 



>> 



Here is his definition of the philosophy of 



that time : 



a 



Man has desires ; otherwise said, 



he 



is 



active. Towards what is his activity directed ? 
By what means can this activity be made free ? 
This is the aim of philosophy in its true sense. 
In other words, philosophy is the science of life." 

In his novel, " Youth," Tolstoy places in the 
mouth of his hero words which undoubtedly re- 



1 

























CHILDHOOD, BOYHOOD, YOUTH 23 

fleeted his own youthful state of mind. These 
thoughts are expressed in a fine lyrical form : 

" The moon rose higher and higher, growing 
brighter and brighter in the firmament, the 
dazzling glitter of the pond, by degrees increasing 
like a sound, became clearer and clearer ; the 
shadows grew darker and darker, the light more 
and more transparent ; and, contemplating and 
listening to all this, something whispered to me 
that ' she,' with bare arms and passionate embrace, 
was yet far from complete happiness, and my 
love for her was not yet perfect felicity. The 



more I gazed at the high, full moon, true beauty 
and goodness appeared to me higher and higher, 
purer and purer, nearer and nearer to Him, the 
source of all beauty and goodness ; and the tears 
of an unsatisfied, but agitating, rapture rose in 






my eyes 



11 And still I was alone, and it appeared to me 
that mysterious, grand Nature, the alluring, bril- 



liant disc of the moon, resting as if immovable 
on an undefined point in the pale blue sky, yet at 
the same time shining everywhere and pervading 



the whole immeasurable space — and I, a worth- 
less worm, already corrupted by petty and miser- 
able human passions, but possessing a boundless 
power of loving — it seemed to me at those moments 
















































24 






THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 






as 




Nature and the moon and 







we all were 



one. 



5) 









Dissatisfied with university studies, Tolstoy, 
taking advantage of the first opportunity that 
presented itself — the completion of his brother 
Nicolas' university career — threw up his own studies 
and went with him to Yasnaya Polyana. 

There he did not remain long. The cruel 
conditions surrounding serfdom, which Tolstoy 
already felt deeply in his soul, did not permit 
him to show his sincere sympathy. He was not 
in circumstances to become a philanthropist for 
slaves. He described such an unsuccessful attempt 
in a novelette, entitled, " A Morning of a Land- 



owner." Then he went to St. Petersburg, one may 
say, to seek happiness. This was the stormiest and 
the most passionate period of his life. At one 
moment he intended to travel abroad, at another 
prepared himself for the university examination, 
then again proposed to enter on a military career. 
He played at cards, made debts, was attracted 
by gipsy singers, and generally was leading an 
irregular life. And all this was interrupted by 
gloomy, but very beneficent, moments of con- 
sciousness of his moral degradation. 

In his diary of that time we find the following 
lines : 






















CHILDHOOD, BOYHOOD, YOUTH 25 

am living like a beast, though not entirely- 
depraved ; my studies are nearly all abandoned, 
and spiritually I am very low." 

A part of that period Tolstoy spent in Moscow, 
but there also his life was no better. 

r 

During these stormy, worldly pleasures — gamb- 
ling, attacks of sensuality, passion for hunting 
suddenly a period of religious humility akin to 
asceticism set in. And in this dark background 
shone, like glittering sparks, the first attempts at 
artistic creation. 

An end came to this changeable, dangerous 
period of his life upon his unexpected journey to 
the Caucasus. 















1 





















































































































CHAPTER III 









MILITARY SERVICE 






Tolstoy's elder brother, Nicolas, having finished 



his 



university studies, entered 



the 



military 



service and joined the artillery in the Caucasus. 
In April, 1851, just when the turbulent period in 
Leo Tolstoy's life had reached its greatest height 
and threatened to ruin irremediably his moral life, 
already blossoming with promise — just at that 
moment his brother Nicolas arrived on leave from 
the Caucasus. He saw at once the danger of the 
situation, and persuaded Leo to return with him 
to the Caucasus. It was not difficult to persuade 
Leo ; he was consumed by passions, and seized 
his brother's proposal as a last means of salvation. 

That same spring they started for the south. 
Both young men liked to be rather original, and 
they did not follow the usual route from Moscow 
straight to Voronesh, but first they went east, 
to Kazan, where they spent a few days with their 
guardian Yushkoff. Here Leo Tolstoy fell in 

love with a young girl, Zenaide Molostoff, and in 

26 





















MILITARY SERVICE 27 

the happiest state of mind he started with his 
brother from Kazan to Saratoff in their own 
coach. At the latter place they embarked, with 
their carriage, on a large boat and, sometimes sail- 
ing, sometimes rowing, they arrived at Astrakhan. 
Thence by coach to Kizliar — the place where 
Nicolas Tolstoy was quartered. This was the 
journey that was afterwards so picturesquely 
described by Tolstoy in his novel, " The Cossacks." 

Very soon the battery in which Nicolas Tol- 
stoy was serving was transferred to the fortified 
camp, Stary-Yurt, this detachment being destined 
to protect from Circassian raids the newly-erected 
sanatorium at the hot, strong, mineral springs. 
The camp was situated at the foot of the moun- 
tain, beside the springs, and on the slopes of the 
mountain the houses of the Circassian village 
Stary-Yurt were picturesquely spread out. In a 
letter to his aunt Tatiana, Leo Tolstoy describes 

this beautiful spot in the mountains : 

" This is a large mountain of piled-up rocks. 
Some of these in their fall have formed grottos; 
some are still hanging high in the air. In many 
places streams of hot water are rushing down 
noisily. The white steam from this boiling water 
envelops and obscures, in the morning especially, 
the upper part of the rocks. The water is so hot 









. 









/ 









28 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 



that in three minutes one can boil eggs in it quite 

In the ravine, on the torrent, three mills, 



hard. 






one above the other, are built in a very curious, 
but attractive way. The whole day Tartar women 
are seen moving above and below the mills, 
washing their clothes. I must tell you that 
they wash with their feet. There is always great 



activity, like the bustle in an ant-hill. The women 
mostly are handsome and well-built. The dress 
of Oriental women, however poor, is always grace- 

.... Picturesque groups of women, the wild 



ful 



beauty of nature — all this makes a delightful scene. 




stand for hours contemplating the land- 



97 



Often 
scape. 

The greater part of his three years' stay in the 
Caucasus Leo Tolstoy spent at Stary-Yurt. The 
beauty of the scenery of the mountainous coun- 
try formed the background for the beautiful 
descriptions of nature in his novels on life in the 
Caucasus. We quote from " The Cossacks " the 
following splendid picturing of the mountains : 



(C 



The morning was perfectly cloudless. 



Sud- 



denly he saw, at a distance of only twenty paces 
as it seemed to him at first, brilliant white masses 
with their delicate outlines, and the fantastic, 
sharply denned contours of their summits against 
the distant sky. When he realised the great dis- 

















03 

CO 

3 
O 

X 

O 






I 















I 









' 


















I 

































* 






















* 



MILITARY SERVICE 29 

tance between him and the mountains and the 
sky, when he understood the immensity of the 



mountains, when he felt their infinite beauty, he 
was awed, thinking it was a vision — a dream. He 
shook himself in order to come to his senses. The 
mountains were still the same. 

What is that ? What is that ? i he asked 
the driver. 

The mountains ! ' Nogai answered indiffer- 



ti c 



a i 







ently. 

also have been looking at them a long 
time,' said John. ' How beautiful ! At home 
they will not believe it.' 

" With the quick driving of the troika on a level 
road, the mountains seemed to be running along 
the horizon, their rose-coloured summits shining 
in the rising sun. At first the mountains simply 
astonished Olenin ; then they delighted him ; but 
afterwards the more and more he gazed on that 
chain of snow-capped peaks rising not from above 
other dark mountains, but directly from the steppe, 
he began, little by little, to understand and to feel 
their beauty. From that moment all that he saw, 
all that he thought and felt, began to assume for 
him a new character, that of the severe majesty of 
the mountains. All Moscow memories, the shame * 
and regrets, all the vulgar dreams about the 




































s 





















I 












30 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 















Caucasus, disappeared, never to return. ' Now it 
has begun,' some solemn voice seemed to whisper 
to him. The distant line of the Terek, and the 

to 




/ 



villages, and the people — all that 
him now in a serious light. He looked up at the 
sky — and remembered the mountains. He looked 
upon himself and his companion, 



John 



again 



the mountains. There two Cossacks rode on 
horseback, their rifles, in cases, evenly moving 
on their backs, their horses intermingling their 



brown 
tains. 



and 



gwy 



legs 



and 



again 



the moun- 



. . . Beyond the Terek the smoke of 
a village was rising up — and the mountains ? 
. . . The sun rose and gleamed in the waters of 
the Terek, appearing through the reeds — and the 
mountains. . . . From the Cossack village came 
a peasant cart. Women — handsome young women 



moved about — but the mountains 



The 



5> 



Abreks * are scouring the steppes, and I travel 
without fear of them. I have a rifle and strength 
and youth — and the mountains ! 

So enchanting were the mountains to Leo Tol- 
stoy in his approach to Stary-Yurt. 



Abreks " were voune Circassians who were waging a sacred 



against 



Their bravery 



nised bv their enemies, and the Russian poets Pushkin 



montoff 



Translator. 

































MILITARY SERVICE 31 



The great natural beauties of the Caucasus, 






the wild mountaineers, the no less wild Russians, 






the Cossacks of the Terek — all this new, or rather 
regenerating, condition of life had such a bene- 
ficial influence on Leo Tolstoy that he threw off, 



like a dirty shell, all the worldly, infected atmo- 



sphere of the life in Russia in which he had so 






nearly perished. And this regenerating and vivi- 
fying process awakened in him two great forces : . 
religion and creative power. In his diary we 
find the following note on his religious awakening : 

scarcely slept the whole of last night ; 







after having written a little in my diary, I began 



to pray. I cannot express the feeling of bliss 
during that period. I repeated my usual prayers, 
'Our Father,' 'To the Virgin Mary,' 'To the 
Trinity,' ' The gates of Mercy,' and ' Appeal to 
the Guardian Angel,' and then I still remained in 
prayer. If praying means to petition or to thank, 
(did not pray. I longed for something high and 
good, but what — I cannot convey, though I clearly 




felt, what I desired. I longed to be absorbed in 



the all-enfolding Being. I prayed Him to forgive 
my sins — but no, I did not ask that, because I felt 
that by giving me these blessed moments He 



had pardoned me. I prayed, and at the same 
time felt that I had nothing to ask for, that I could 





















\ 







































32 









THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 









• 





















not, and even did not know how to, ask. 



I thanked 



Him, but not with words or thoughts. In one feel- 



j 



ing I united all — prayer and 




Every 



/ 



sense of fear had vanished. From this general 
feeling I could not distinguish faith, love, and hope. 
No ; the feeling I experienced yesterday was love 
of God, the highest love, uniting in itself all that 
is good, rejecting all that is evil. How dreadful it 
was for me to consider the trivial, vicious side of 



life. 




could not understand how it could 




ave 






attracted me. With what a pure heart 
to God to accept me in his bosom, 
feel my flesh, 






c 





prayed 
did not 
no, the carnal, petty part 
again asserted itself, and in less than one hour 
' I heard consciously the voice of sin, of vanity, and 




was 



of the whole empty side of life. I knew whence 
this voice came, and that it had destroyed my 
bliss. 




a 




9 



struggled, but yielded. 

* 

fell asleep dreaming of fame, of women 
but that is not my fault — I could not help it. 

" Eternal bliss is impossible on earth. Suffer- 



ing is necessary 



Why? 



? 




do not know. 



And 



how dare 




say 



i 



I do not know ' ? How dared 




think that the ways of Providence were known? 
But Providence is the origin of reason, and reason 
tries to understand. Reason is losing itself in the 
depth of wisdom, whilst emotion is afraid of 



























> 



























' 



MILITARY SERVICE 33 






y 









offending Him. I thank Him for the moments of 

o 

bliss which showed me my insignificance and my 






greatness. I want to pray, but do not know how. 
I want to understand, but dare not. I resign my- 
self to Thy will. 

" Why have I written all this ? How flat, how 
faded, and even senseless, appear my feelings when 
expressed; and yet they were so exalted." 






Such a moral awakening is described in " The 
Cossacks." Olenin, the hero of this novel, seated 
within a beautiful forest of the Caucasus, gives 
himself up to thoughts on the meaning of life. 

" Suddenly it was as if a new world had opened 
before him. ' Happiness,' he said to himself, ' con- 
sists in living for others.' And that is clear. The 
longing for happiness is inborn in man. This 
means that it is legitimate. Trying to satisfy 
it in a selfish way, by seeking wealth, fame, com- 



forts of life, and love — it may be that circum- 
stances will so shape themselves as to make it 
impossible to satisfy these desires. Consequently 
these desires are illegitimate, but the desire for 
happiness is not illegitimate. Which desires may 
be satisfied regardless of circumstances ? Which ? 
Love, self-sacrifice. ..." 

Leo Tolstoy spent the whole summer with his 
brother, taking part as a volunteer in expeditions 



D 




























34 












THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 















! 

against the mountaineers. For the winter he 
went to Tiflis to pass his examination in order to 
enter the artillery service. In Tiflis he began to 
write his first novel, " Childhood. 

After a successful examination he returned to 



55 






his brother, wearing military uniform, and was 
appointed as a non-commissioned officer to the 
4th battery of the 20th artillery brigade. 

In July he finished the novel and, signing 




modestly with the initials, " L. N. T.," sent it to 
the Sovremennik.* Towards the end of August 






he received an answer from the editor, the poet 
N. Nekrasoff — who recognised talent in the unknown 
author — announcing that the novel would be pub- 
lished, and it duly appeared in the September 
number of the review, 1852. 






This was the first step in the literary career of 
Leo Tolstoy, and from that time he realised that 
he had found his vocation. Shortly before the 
event he wrote in his diary : 

" Something within me makes me think that 
am not born to be as others." 

Yet at that time his inner consciousness vaguely 




♦The " Contemporary "— a leading, advanced, St. Petersburg 

monthly review. Amongst its contributors were the best Russian 

authors of that time, such as Turgenef, Tchernichevsky, etc. 
Translator. 






-•f 













Tolstoy in 1876. 

Fro7u the Oil Painting by Kramskoy 



MILITARY SERVICE 35 



foretold him his future. A little later he writes 
in his diary : 

" The man who strives only for his own 
happiness is bad ; he who aims for the good 
opinions of others is weak ; he who seeks the 
happiness of others is virtuous ; he whose aim is 
God is great. 

" Justice is the least measure of virtue, and is 
obligatory for everybody. Higher is the striving 
for perfection ; anything lower is vice." 

It would be difficult to find a better expression 
of the views of Tolstoy. 

Naturally, such a man was not in his place in 
the artillery of the Caucasus. Those moments of 
spiritual elevation were only a few bright spots on 
the grey background of the dreary camp routine. 
And, indeed, he began to grow tired and weary of 
military life. Then, towards the end of 1853, the 
Crimean War broke [out. Just before Leo Tolstoy 
had handed in his resignation, but it was delayed, 
and through his influential relatives he requested 
to be transferred on active service to the Russian 
army on the Danube, where the fighting had begun. 
His relations procured him a post on the staff of 
the Commander-in-Chief of the Danube army, 
Prince Gorchakoff, who was also a relative. 

Before his departure from the Caucasus, 













THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 






Tolstoy passed his examination as an officer and 

obtained his promotion. With the Danube army 
he took part in the storming of Silistria, and in 

the retreat of the army. This retreat was 
devoid of interest for him, and he petitioned to 
be transferred to Sebastopol, where he arrived 
in November, 1854, and was appointed to the 
3rd battery of the 14th artillery brigade. Here he 
was imbued at once with the intense patriotic 
enthusiasm of the famous defenders of Sebastopol. 
In one of his letters to his brother he wrote : 

" The spirit of the army is indescribable. Even 
in ancient Greece there was not so much heroism. 
Korniloff, when making the round of the troops, 
instead of saying, as usual, * Good health to you, 
boys,' said, ' We must die, my boys. Will you ? ' 
And the soldiers shouted, * We will die, your 
Excellency. Hurrah ! ' And this was not affecta- 
tion. On the face of each man it was plain 
that he meant it. Already 22,000 of them have 
kept their promise." 

Though Tolstoy did not take part in any impor- 
tant assaults and sorties, nevertheless his life was 
exposed to great danger. He was often on duty 
at the most dangerous points of the fourth bas- 
tion, and this danger he met always with unflinch- 

* 

ing courage. 




























MILITARY SERVICE 37 

In the officers' mess he cheered up everybody 

« 

by his humour, and encouraged them by his gay 
energy. At one of those evenings he composed 
with his comrades the well-known verses beginning 
as follows : 

"On the fourth of the month. 

9 

The devil sent us out 

To capture the heights ..." 



This song, in which, with good-natured humour, 
many commanding officers were ridiculed, was 
soon learnt and sung by the soldiers when off duty. 

In the midst of the horrors of death, of inces- 
sant suspense for his own and others' lives, Tolstoy 
continued to ponder over man's destiny, the aim 
of life, and the eternal truths. In his diary we 
read, under the date of March 5th, 1855 : 

discussion on God and Faith brought me 
to a great, a stupendous idea, to the realisation of 




which I feel able to devote my life. The idea is 
to create a new religion corresponding to the 
development of mankind, a religion of Christ puri- 
fied from dogma and mysticism, a practical religion, 
not promising bliss in future, but giving happiness 
on earth. I understand that this idea can be 






I - 



realised only by generations consciously working 
for that purpose. One generation will bequeath 
this idea to the next, and some day by fanaticism 













































38 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 



/ 



or by reason it will be realised. To work consciously 
for the union of mankind by religion — that is the 



foundation of the idea which I hope will inspire 



me. 



j> 



The whole long and active life of Tolstoy up to 
his old age was but the endeavour to realise 
this great idea — the religious union of mankind. 

But these thoughts were like flashes in the dark 
background of a dreadful tragedy : the mutual 

having no senti- 



extermination of men 



brothers 



ment of personal hatred of each other. 

The tragedy of war was described by Tolstoy 
with inimitable insight and the highest art in his 
sketches from Sebastopol. In August, 1855, Sebas- 
topol capitulated, and the remnant of the Eussian 
army dispersed to their homes. 

Tolstoy was sent to St. Petersburg with the 
report on the last battle. He did not return to 
the army, and soon after left the military service. 
















CHAPTER IV 



LITERARY, EDUCATIONAL, AND SOCIAL ACTIVITY 



On arrival at St. Petersburg, Tolstoy was at once 
received by the editors and the staff of contributors 
of the Sovremennik as one of themselves, for 
they highly appreciated his first literary work and 
his sketches from Sebastopol. But there was no 
affinity between him and this circle, and even 
with Turgenef, whom he respected most of all, 
he often quarrelled. 

By his nature Tolstoy was quite unsuited to 

any collective action. Every collective initiative 



found in him a hot opponent. It was as if he 
feared to lose his independence or to be carried 
away by a general current of opinion in a direction 
which was not his own. This was the cause of all 
his misunderstandings and quarrels with his literary 
comrades. 

Turgenef, who very much liked Tolstoy's first 
works, took a great interest in him ; he even in- 
vited him to live with him in St. Petersburg. Fet, 
in his reminiscences, gives a comical description of 

39 
























40 THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 

Turgenef, who quite changed his usual order of 
life to give greater comfort to his beloved guest, 
and even would speak in a subdued voice so as not 



r 



to awaken the sleeping Tolstoy. Soon he dis- 
covered that this infant whom he had taken in 
charge had long ago outgrown its swaddling- 
clothes, stood on its own legs, and even began to 
attack. Turgenef then regretfully, but kindly, 
withdrew to a certain respectful distance, and at 
that distance he continued, during his whole life, 
to admire Tolstoy's talents and to criticise what 
he used to call his " eccentricities." 

Of all the members of the staff of the Sovremennik 
Tolstoy entered into intimate friendly connections 
with the poet Fet only — an intimacy which lasted 
many years. 

Tolstoy had resigned his commission in order 
to get out of military circles, which did not suit 
him. The resignation was accepted in November, 
1856, and he immediately prepared for a foreign tour. 
Before his departure he went to Yasnaya Polyana, 
where he had some romantic entanglement. From 
letters to his relatives, it is clear that Tolstoy had 
for some time been preoccupied by the thought of 
his lonely, unsettled life. He was longing for the 
quiet harbour of family happiness, and suddenly 

he began to feel a tender attachment to Valerie 




































LITERARY AND SOCIAL ACTIVITY 41 

Arsenef, the young daughter of a neighbouring 
nobleman. In order to test whether this sudden 
sentiment was not a mistake, he courageously 
separated himself from her and returned to St. 
Petersburg, whence he corresponded with the girl, 
whom he already regarded as his betrothed. 
These letters form quite a novel, in which a man 
desires to educate and prepare a young, inexperi- 
enced girl to become a good, loving wife, mistress, 
and mother. But their attachment was not strong 
enough to develop at such a distance. The letters 
began gradually to be cooler, and as soon as they 
realised that there was no true affection between 
them the correspondence ceased, and farewell 
letters were exchanged expressing mutual respect 
and restoring to each full liberty. 

In January, 1857, Tolstoy started for Europe. 
He went by mail-coach to Warsaw, and thence 
by railway to Paris.* 

In Paris he saw much of Turgenef, with whom 
he became more intimate. There, too, he had a 

* 

trying experience. It seemed as if fate itself always 
led him into a situation where he had to protest 
against contemporary civilisation. He had gone 

* At that time there existed only two lines in all Russia : that 
from St. Petersburg to Moscow, with a small branch from St. 
Petersburg to Tsarskoye Selo; and the route from Warsaw to 
Berlin. — Translator, 




































42 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 






to Europe in order to learn — to see how the West 






was living, and whether he could not find some- 
thing to adopt for his own country 



when, shortly 



after his arrival in Paris, he witnessed an execution 
by guillotine. • * 

When I saw how the head was separated from 



(C 



) 




the body," he says in his " Confession," " and as 
it dropped noisily into the basket, I understood, not 
with my reason but with my whole being, that no 
theories of the rationality of modern civilisation 
and its institutions could justify this act ; that 
all the people in the world, from the very begin- 
ning of the world, by whatever theory, had found it 
necessary, I knew that it was useless, that it was 
evil. I knew, also, that the standard of good and 
evil was not what people said or did, not progress, 
but myself and my own heart. 



»> 






The day after the execution he wrote in his 
diary : 

" I got up before seven and went to see the 

execution. A thick, white, and healthy neck and 

chest; he kissed the New Testament, and then 

death. What nonsense ! It made a strong im- 



pression which has not been in vain. I am not a 



political man. Morality and Art 




know 



9 




love. 



The guillotine prevented me a long time from 



sleeping, and made me start often. 



5> 































a 
a 



o 



as 

o 



CO 

O 

H 






























/ 



I 















/ 









LITERARY AND SOCIAL ACTIVITY 43 

In the beginning of May he left Paris for 
Switzerland, where he settled at Clarens on the 



Lake of Geneva. He rested here after the Paris 
bustle, and was delighted with the beauty of 
nature. 

These are his travelling impressions : 

" The 15th of May the weather was bright ; the 

t 

shining blue — dark blue — lake, dotted with its white 
and dark spots of sails and boats, lay glittering 
nearly three sides around me. Towards Geneva, 
far over the lake, the hot air was vibrating and 
darkening; on the other side rose abruptly the 
green Savoy mountains, with little, white houses at 
their foot, and the jagged rocks, one of which 
resembled a giant white woman in an old-fashioned 
costume. On the left, clearly outlined just above 
the brownish vineyards, in the deep green of 
orchards, Montreux appeared, with its graceful 
church rising from the slope of the mountain. 
Along the very border of the lake the houses of 
Villeneuve are spread out, their metallic roofs 
shining in the midday sun ; the mysterious valley 
of the Rhone, with mountains rising one above 
the other ; white, cold Chillon on the brink of the 
water, the much- sung islet, artificial, but lying, 
nevertheless, charmingly opposite Villeneuve. 

" The lake rippled slightly. The sun struck ver- 
















































44 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 
















tically on its azure surface ; and the outspread sails, 
scattered about the lake, appeared moti 

"It is wonderful ! I lived in Clarens two full 
months, and every time at morning, but especially 






towards evening, that I opened the shutters of my 
windows, then already in the shade, looking on the 
lake and on the distant mountains reflected in 
the water, the beauty blinded me and acted in- 
stantly on me with unexpected strength. 




felt 



a sudden desire to love, even myself. I regretted 
the past, was hopeful for the future. Life ap- 



peared joyous 



> 



and 




wished to live long, very 



long ; and the idea of death began to assume a 
childish, poetic terror. Sometimes, sitting alone 
in the little, shady garden, and gazing, gazing on 



the lake and its shores 




seemed to feel the 



physical sensation as of beauty pouring through 
my eyes into my soul." 

Having fully enjoyed the loveliness of the Lake 
of Geneva, Tolstoy set forth to see more of the 
country. At first he walked through the mountains ; 
afterwards he crossed the Oberland on horseback 
to Lucerne, that wonderful corner of Switzerland, 
establishing himself at the best hotel, the Schweizer- 
hof, then crowded with tourists, mostly English. 

Full of charming impressions of the Swiss 
mountains and nature, he could not bear the 






























LITERARY AND SOCIAL ACTIVITY 45 

striking contrast between the freedom of the wilds 
and the artificial affectedness of the English, for 
whose pleasure the beautiful shore of the Lucerne 
lake had been transformed into a stone quay in 
full accord with the cold nature of that race. At 
the moment of Tolstoy's arrival, these people were 
looking with contempt on a little, begging street 
minstrel, who did not receive anything from them 
for his sweet singing. 

At the table d'hote Tolstoy created a sensation 
by inviting this street singer to dine with him, to 
the great horror of the Englishmen and the solemn 
waiters. This incident is described in Tolstoy's 
novelette, " Lucerne," which ends in a beautiful 
hymn to the Eternal One : 

" Who has weighed the internal happiness 
which lies in the soul of each of these men ? There 
he sits now, somewhere on a dirty threshold, gazing 
on the bright, moonlit sky and joyfully singing 
to the quiet, fragrant night ; there is no reproach, 
no anger or regret in his soul. And who knows 
what is passing in the hearts of those people behind 
these rich and lofty walls ? Who knows whether 
they possess as careless and serene a joy of life and 
harmony with the world as lie in the heart of this 
little man ? Unlimited are the mercy and wisdom 
of Him who permitted and ordered the existence 



* 




^ • 




































4 6 






THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 






of these contradictions. Only to thee, worth- 
less worm, impudently, lawlessly trying to pene- 
trate His laws, His intentions, only to thee they 






appear as contradictions. He tenderly looks down 
from His bright, immeasurable heights, and enjoys 
the endless harmony in which ye all in your con- 
tradictions are eternally moving. In your pride 
ye thought to evade the universal law. Nay, thou, 
with thy petty, vulgar contempt for the waiters, 
thou also respondest to the harmonious necessity 
of the eternal and endless." 

From Lucerne Tolstoy returned to Russia 
through Germany, and in August he reached 
Yasnaya Polyana. There he intended to occupy 
himself with the estate and to open a school, 
but for that winter the whole family went to 
Moscow. 

In December of the same year Tolstoy, with 
his friend, Fet, went bear-hunting on the estate 
of their mutual friend Gromeka, in the Tver 
province. This amusement nearly cost Tolstoy 
his life. When, on one occasion, a she-bear had 
been driven out of her lair and came towards 
Tolstoy, he fired and missed. The bear threw 
him to the ground, fell on top of him, and had 
her jaws already open to seize his head, when 
his friends, rushing forward, drove her away 
























LITERARY AND SOCIAL ACTIVITY 47 

and killed her. However, she had succeeded in 
biting Tolstoy, and had torn off a piece of skin. 
He was bandaged on the spot, and the wound soon 
healed. He described this incident in a story 
called " The Wish is Stronger than Bondage," 
published in school reading-books. 

During the winter in Moscow he was giving 
much time to gymnastics, which at that period 
began to be fashionable in Russia. These physical 



exercises he continued also in Yasnaya Polyana. 

Here we give a humorous description, by his 
brother Nicolas, of these gymnastics : 

" Leo desires to take up all, not to miss any- 
thing — not even gymnastics. Now he has erected 



a bar outside his window. Of course, if we put 
aside prejudice, against which he is always fight- 
ing, he is quite right : gymnastics do not inter- 
fere with the management of the estate. But the 
bailiff looks somewhat differently on the matter. 
c I come to the master,' he says, ' to get orders, 
and the master, in a short red jacket, swings with 
one leg over the bar, head down, his face red, hair 



hanging down and flying about. I wonder, must 




wait for orders or look at him ! ' " 
These practices did not interfere with his 
management. Already at that time, in the 
summer, he was working in the fields, ploughing, 





















4 8 









THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 






mowing grass, giving a poetic glamour to this 
work. 






In the autumn he again went to Moscow, and 



lived a gay 



y 



ity life. In all literary circles 



he was welcome, and in February, 1859, he was 
elected member of the Moscow Literary Society. 
According to the rules of that body, a newly- 
elected member had to make his inaugural speech 
at a general meeting. Tolstoy duly delivered his 



address, but the record of it has not been pre- 



served. The subject was, ' The Superiority of 

the Element of Art in Literature above all 



?> 



Temporary Tendencies. 

The president of the society, A. Khomyakoff, 
in his reply, expressed sympathy with Tolstoy's 
words, but remarked that literary art does not 
exclude the contemporary and the casual, quoting, 

as an example, Tolstoy's own novel, " Three 
Deaths," just published, in which work, as in 
many others, the temporary is united with the 
eternal. 

" Continue with the same, if possible even 
greater, success," concluded Khomyakoff, in his 
reply to Tolstoy. " Your talent is not transitory 
and easily exhausted ; but remember that in letters 
the eternal and artistic constantly assimilate the 
temporary and transient, remodelling and ennobling 












LITERARY AND SOCIAL ACTIVITY 



49 




, and all the various aspects of human thought 
are incessantly uniting in one harmonious whole." 

The influence and power of Leo Tolstoy in 



Russian life was constantly growing. But many 
trying experiences awaited him yet before he 
reached his full development. 

































i 















i 









E 






































































































i 



CHAPTER 




X 



THE DEATH OP HIS BROTHER NICOLAS 



In the beginning of 1860 Tolstoy was very much 
alarmed by the failing health of his elder brother 
Nicolas. The doctors suspected consumption, and 
advised him to go for a cure at Soden, where he 
went next summer, accompanied by his brother 
Sergius. His illness caused great anxiety to many 
friends, Fet and Turgenef amongst them, who 
were attached to Nicolas and held him in high 
esteem. Turgenef wrote : 

Your news about the illness of Nicolas 
Tolstoy has deeply grieved me. Is it possible that 
this dear and lovable man must perish ? And 
how did it happen that this illness was allowed to 
develop ? Can he not overcome his indolence and 
go abroad for a cure ? Was he not travelling in 
the Caucasus by coach, and the devil knows in what 
other ways ? Let him come to Soden ! One 
meets here, at every step, consumptives. It seems 
that the waters of Soden are the best cure for such 



«( 



illness. I am writing to you from two thousand 



50 





















DEATH OF HIS BROTHER NICOLAS 51 



versts distance, as if my word could be of any 
help. . . . If he has not yet started, he never 

will. . . . That is how Fate breaks all of us." 

At first Soden seemed to do Nicolas good, 
but later the news became less and less comfort- 
ing. Then, in order to take the place of his 
brother Sergius, Tolstoy went to Soden with his 

married sister, Marie, and her two little daugh- 
ters. 

They travelled by steamer from St. Petersburg 

to Stettin, and from there by Berlin to Soden. The 

sister went straight to Soden, but Tolstoy stayed 

i 

a few days in Berlin to see the town, and attended 
a few lectures of the famous professors Dubois- 
Bay mond, Dreusen, and others. Afterwards he 
visited Dresden and the well-known novelist 
Auerbach, who was very much respected by Tol- 
stoy for his sketches of popular life. But especi- 
ally, wherever he got the chance, Tolstoy visited 
schools. The idea to start a school of his own had 
already taken deep root in his mind, and he never 
missed an opportunity in Europe to study ele- 
mentary education and to visit schools. But 
German schools did not satisfy him. In his diary 

he gives the following impression of the Saxon 
schools : 

was in a school. Awful. Prayer for the 





























52 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 






King ; thrashings ; all is learnt by heart. Frightened 






and unnatural children." 

At the same time Tolstoy gave a good deal of 
his time to the reading of philosophical, historical, 
and educational works of the best known authors 
of that time : Riehl, Frobel, Diesterweg, and 

* 

others. 

* 

At last he reached Soden, where he found his 
beloved brother Nicolas in a very bad state of 
health. They hurried to the south of France to 
lengthen his life as much as possible, settling at 
Hyeres, by the seaside, in that mild, beautiful 
climate. But it was too late. On September 
20th, 1860, Nicolas died in Leo's arms. This 
death made a strong, ineffaceable impression on 
Tolstoy, and gave a new direction to his thoughts. 
Writing to his friend Fet on the death of his 
brother, he says : 

■ 

" He was quite right in saying that there is 
nothing worse than death. Considering that death 
is the end of all, life in that case appears worse 
than anything. What is the use of striving and 



struggling 




from what was Nicolas Tolstoy 



nothing remained for himself ? He did not say 
that he felt the approach of death, but I know that 



he watched every step of it, and that he knew 
for certain what was left to him. A few moments 












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Tolstoy In 1895. 












I 

































\ 















DEATH OF HIS BROTHER NICOLAS 53 

before the end he slumbered, and suddenly awoke 
and whispered in terror, * What is that ? ' He 
saw Death, and he felt himself swallowed up in the 



darkness. And if he found nothing to cling to, 
what shall I find ? Yet less. Certainly, neither I 



nor anybody else will struggle to the last moment 

as he did." 

And he continues, farther on : 

11 All who watched his last moments, say, ' How 



wonderfully quiet and peaceful was his death ' ; 



but I know how terribly painful it was to him, 
as not a single one of his feelings was hidden from 



me. Hundreds of times I say to myself, ' Let 
the dead bury the dead,' but in some way one has 
to spend one's remaining strength. You cannot 
bid a stone fall up and not downwards, where 
there is attraction. You cannot laugh at a worn- 
out joke. You cannot eat when you are not 
hungry. Is it worth while to trouble when to- 
morrow may begin the agony of death with its 
detestable lies and self-delusion, and when all ends 
in nothingness, naught for myself. Curious thing ! 
* Be useful, be virtuous, happy as long as you live,' 
people say to others. But usefulness, morality, 
and happiness are all united in truth. The truth 
found after thirty -two years of life is that the 
condition of our existence is dreadful. 




























54 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 



" * Take life as it is,' they say. ' You have put 
yourself in that condition.' Well, I take life as 




find it ; but when man reaches the highest degree 
of development he sees that all is nonsense, fraud, 
and that truth, which he nevertheless loves above 
all, is terrible. When he comes to see this 
thoroughly and clearly, he starts up and exclaims 
with terror, like my brother : * What is that ? ' 
Certainly while there exists the desire to know 
and speak the truth, one endeavours to do so. 



This is the only thing I preserved from all moral 



conceptions, and higher I cannot rise. This only 
will do in future, but not in the form of your 

Art is a lie, and I can no longer love a beau- 




art. 



tiful lie. 



?> 



Kecovering somewhat from this heavy blow, 
Leo Tolstoy continued his foreign tour, study- 



ing 



the 



systems of elementary education in 
France, Germany, and England. In London 
he made the acquaintance of Herzen,* and spent 
with him a whole month in most friendly in- 
timacy. 






* Alexander Herzen, a brilliant political author and philosopher, 



was the first Russian political refugee in London, where he started 
the Russian Free Press. An intimate friend of Mazzini, Proudhon, 
Kossuth, and others, he was well known also in English political 
and literary circles. His influence on Russian life is unsurpassed. 

Translator. 



) 





















DEATH OF HIS BROTHER NICOLAS 55 

February 19th, 1861, the day of the liberation 
of the serfs, had arrived. Tolstoy hurried back 
to Russia, having been appointed a " Mediator " 
between the peasants and the nobility of his 

province. 

As a Mediator, Tolstoy took at once the 

side of the peasants, defending their interests 
against their former masters, who reluctantly 
obeyed their monarch's will, and tried by every 
means to cheat the former serfs. Naturally, by 
acting thus, Tolstoy provoked quite a storm of 
anger amongst the nobility. Secret denuncia- 
tions were pouring into the central government, 
and his position became untenable, so that in 
less than a year he was obliged to tender his 
resignation. With his whole heart he then de- 
voted himself to the problem of elementary 

education. 

Just at that time, in 1861, he had the mis- 
fortune to quarrel seriously with Turgenef. Their 
mutual friend, Fet, in his " Memoirs," gives this 
episode in detail. The quarrel broke out in his 
house, when Turgenef and Tolstoy were his guests. 
The insignificance of the cause — the question of 
the education of Turgenef s daughter — shows clearly 
that this was only the outbreak of a long-standing, 
hidden, mutual disagreement. Only the noble 






























56 






THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 









character of both men prevented a fatal ending to 

the quarrel. A challenge was sent, but happily 

with time, 

however, was the breach gradually healed.* 



the duel did not take place. 










* Turgenef, on his death-bed in Paris, in 1883, wrote to Tolstoy 
a touching letter, in which, calling him a great author, he begged 
Tolstoy to continue the literary work, which at that time the 

* 

latter, in one of his moral crises, intended to abandon. — Translator. 



i 




















































































CHAPTER VI 






tolstoy's educational work 




The educational activity of Tolstoy forms quite 
a separate period in his life. The value of this 
activity for the advancement of popular Eussian 
instruction has till now not been sufficiently 

l 

appreciated. Teaching always attracted him. As 
far back as 1849, on his return from Kazan, 
he opened a little school on his estate. But during 
his stay in the Caucasus and the following eventful 
years the school was closed. He reopened 
during the winter of 1858-59, after his first journey 
in Europe ; but somehow it was not a success. 

As we have seen, during his second journey in 
Europe he seriously studied the subject. Now, 
armed with knowledge and experience, he once 
again took his school in hand, and this time he 
carried out his intention, establishing a model for 
the regeneration of the Eussian elementary school. 

In Yasnaya Polyana he organised quite an 
educational circle of young teachers, amongst 
them a German, Herr Keller, whom he 



57 
















































58 






THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 






had expressly engaged from Germany. 

opened several schools, published an educational 



Tolstoy 



review 



Yasnaya Poly 



in which he expounded 



his theories upon instruction 




accounts of 



his own work as a teacher in elementary schools, 
attracted the teachers of neighbouring schools to 
collaborate in his paper, and published their essays 
and reports. As supplements to his review, he gave 
model, popular reading-books, under the general 



title 



a 



From Yasnaya Poly 



they contained 



a whole series of masterly, popular sketches from 
history, geography, biography, and general litera- 
ture, written by the teachers and even by the 
pupils, under his supervision. The quintessence 
of his theory on education Tolstoy developed in 
four articles in his review. In the first of these 



articles, " On Popular Instruction," he explained 
that the greatest impediments to the develop- 
ment of popular instruction are preconceived 
theories and their arbitrary imposition on the 
people without examining the people's needs or 
the suitability of the theories to those needs. In 
conclusion of his argument he states that the sole 
educational method must be experience freed from 
preconceived ideas, whilst the only guide must 
be liberty, as without it no experiment of any 
value can be accomplished. 






I 





















TOLSTOY'S EDUCATIONAL WORK 59 

To these free experiments Tolstoy devoted 
himself in his own school at Yasnaya Polyana, as 
well as in the other schools created by him, whilst 
his review remained the organ of his theories. 
Though the review existed only a year, it contained 
a most interesting account of Tolstoy's experiences. 

In the second article Tolstoy asserted that 
reading and writing are not the first step, and con- 
sequently not the most important step, in educa- 
tion. There are many illiterate people with expe- 
rience, and much useful, and even technical, know- 
ledge ; whilst on the other hand there are literate 
men who do not possess any of those qualities. 
The schools created by the Government and the in- 
tellectual classes are not meant to serve the imme- 
diate needs of popular life, and not adapted to 
them. The elementary schools are created for 
the purpose of preparing the pupils for a secondary 
school. The latter prepares the pupils for the 
high school, which existed before either of the 
first two. The high schools are the continuation 
of the former monastic schools, serving a Church 
and State purpose. Liberated now from the 
Church, and in Russia simply divided into clerical 
and lay schools, the high, secondary and elemen- 
tary schools continue to serve the State ends, but 
not the people. 









/* 









6o THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 







Concerning the ways of teaching, Tolstoy finds 
that method best which requires the least effort 
from the child ; but he considers the principal 

1 

requirements in teaching are individual talent 
and art in the teacher. Teaching is an art ; its 
development and improvement have no limits, 
but perfection is unattainable. 

In his third article, " Education and Instruc- 
tion," Tolstoy draws a sharp line between the 
two. Education is more or less an enforcement 
of our will on the child ; instruction leaves it com- 
paratively free. For the first he finds no suffi- 
cient justification. " There exist no rights to 



educate. I do not recognise it. Nowhere and 
never have the young generation recognised, nor 
will they recognise it ; that is why they are always 
in revolt against the compulsion of education." 

If, to a certain degree, the compulsion of family 
and religious education can be justified and ex- 
plained, Tolstoy cannot find a reason for the com- 
pulsion of education by the State, and he arrives 
at the following conclusion : 

" We do not pay attention to the voice of the 



people. We do not hear it even, because it does 
not speak in the Press or from the platform ; 
nevertheless the people are against this educa- 
tion." 






\ 


















TOLSTOY'S EDUCATIONAL WORK 61 






From this point of view he severely and piti- 
lessly examines the school system. Although his 
article was written half a century ago, many of 

his observations have their full value even at the 
present time. 

His trenchant articles did not fail to pro- 
voke replies and criticisms in other reviews. To 
one of these replies, that of Eugene Markoff, Tol- 
stoy wrote a strong and powerful defence, " Pro- 
gress and Instruction." Seeing that the principal 
argument in defence of the present system of 
education is belief in progress, Tolstoy applies 
himself to uproot this belief by proving the insig- 
nificance and the conventionality of the idea of 



" progress." He points out that the greater part 
of humanity, the hundreds of millions of Eastern 
people, are quite without this idea. 

Tolstoy analysed in his review, Yasnaya Poly ana, 
the Ministerial project of organisation of popular 
schools, and showed its unfitness for Eussian life, 
based as it was on the American system of school 
taxes. Altogether, he found that the project was 
not adaptable to popular needs, and that the 
regulations of popular instruction proposed in 
the project represented a drawback to the exist- 
ence and expansion of free education. 

All these educational views were applied by 
















































62 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 









him with the energy of a genius in his school at 
Yasnaya Polyana. This school was described in 
the following words in his review : 



c« 



The 



school 



> 



occupies 



a 



two-storied 



brick 



9 



building. Two rooms are used as classrooms 
two for the teachers, and one as a physical cabinet. 
In the porch hangs a bell with a rope attached to 
it ; in the entrance -hall, downstairs, parallel and 
horizontal bars are erected ; whilst in the vesti- 
bule, upstairs, stands a carpenter's bench. The 
staircase and entrance -hall are covered with foot- 
marks of snow and dirt. In the hall also hangs 
the programme. The order of the lessons is as 
follows : At eight o'clock in the morning the 
teacher living in the school, who is its adminis- 
trator and very orderly, sends one of the boys 
who is sleeping in the school to ring the school- 
bell. 

" Villagers are early risers, and for a long time 
the lights in the peasants' cottages have been 
visible from the school. Half an hour after the 






ringing of the bell, through the mist or rain, or in 
the slanting rays of the autumn sun, little dark 
figures appear separately or in pairs on the slopes 
of the hollow which divides the school from the 



village. 



They are not waiting for each other as 



formerly. The sentiment to herd together has 












TOLSTOY'S EDUCATIONAL WORK 63 

disappeared long ago. They have learnt some- 
thing already, and for that reason they are more 
independent. They do not bring anything with 
them : no books, no copy-books ; they have no 
home-lessons to do. Not only do they carry nothing 
in their hands, but neither are their heads bur- 
dened. The little scholar is not obliged to 
remember any lesson, not even what he learnt 
yesterday. He is not tortured by the thought of 
a coming task. He only brings himself, his impres- 
sionable nature, and the conviction that to-day 

will be just as gay at school as yesterday. He 
does not think of a lesson before it begins. Nobody 
is reprimanded for being late ; but they are never 
late, except when the fathers keep the elder boys 
for some work ; and as soon as they are free they 
run as fast as possible to school.'* 

Such was the organisation of the school ; but 
its internal life, the mutual relations between 
Tolstoy and the pupils, the budding of their 
imagination, their analysis by their common- 
sense of the existing routine of teaching — all this 
is of incomparably greater interest, and Tolstoy 

described it in some artistic sketches in his 
review. * 




* Tolstoy's principal articles on education were published in the 
fourth volume of his complete works. — Author, 
















































6 4 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 




In the spring of 1862, Tolstoy felt exhausted 
his labour as teacher, editor, Mediator, and 
many other occupations to which, with his impul- 
sive nature, he devoted himself always so whole- 
heartedly. He began to be unwell, to cough, and 






the doctors ordered him to go for some time to 
the steppes to follow a Kumiss * cure. In the 

month of May he started, accompanied by two 
boys from his school. The air and nature of the 
steppes, combined with the invigorating influ- 
ence of the Kumiss, soon restored his health. 

During his absence from Yasnaya Polyana an 



absurd, though revolting, incident occurred. 



By 



the anonymous denunciation of a half-literate spy, 



Yasnaya Polyana was searched by the 



police. 



Ridiculous and outrageous as was the search, the 
authorities who carried it out made it worse by 
their usual brutality, which caused the greatest 
commotion amongst the peaceful inhabitants of 
Yasnaya Polyana, the aunt and sister of Tol- 
stoy being especially alarmed. Of course, the 
authorities did not find anything incriminating. 
The quiet order of life at Yasnaya Polyana, how- 
ever, was so disturbed that it required great efforts 
to re-establish tranquillity ; but even then it was 
of short duration, and the school was closed. 






* Fermented mare's milk. — Translator, 









I TOLSTOY'S EDUCATIONAL WORK 65 

* 

i Although he appeared quite absorbed by edu- 
cational work, this sphere of activity could not 
fully satisfy Tolstoy. He was seeking truth — the 
highest truth — which he could not find. From 

\ time to time this struggle for truth became a 
great, nervous strain. In his " Confession " Tol- 
stoy characterised his state of mind at that time 
in the following words : 

" In the year of the peasants' emancipation 
returned to Russia, and taking the post of 




' Mediator,' I began to teach illiterate people 

< 

in the schools and the educated people in the 



review which I began to publish. The work 



seemed to go well, but I felt that my mind was 



not in a normal state, and that a change had to 



come. Probably already at that time I would 
have reached that despair in which I was plunged 
fifteen years later, if there had not existed yet one 



side of life which hitherto I had never tried, and 








which promised me salvation — family life. 

" During a whole year I was busy as Mediator, 



with my schools and review, and I was so ter- 
ribly exhausted, especially because my work had 
become much involved. My work as a Mediator 
was one continuous struggle ; my educational 
activity had become more and more vague ; my 
shifts in my own review were so odious, as they 



p 
























66 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 






consisted in reality of the desire to teach every- 




body and to hide that I did not know what to 
teach, that I felt ill rather morally than physically, 
left everything and went to the steppes — to the 
Bashkirs — to breathe the air, to drink Kumiss, 

and to live an animal's life. Returning from there, 
I married." 

Tolstoy's marriage took place in the most 
auspicious circumstances. He had already been a 
long time acquainted with the family of the Court 
physician Behrs, living in the Kremlin at Moscow. 
He had known his future wife and her sisters from 
their childhood, and they had grown up under his 
eyes. 

Passionately in love with the younger sister 



Sophia, as if afraid of his already mature age, he 
hurried on the marriage. On 17th September, 
1862, he proposed, and on the 23rd of that month 



was 



married. 



After 



the 



marriage 



the 



young 



couple went to Yasnaya Polyana, where they 
were welcomed by the loving aunt and Leo's 
brother, Sergius. From that date a new and 
serious period of life began for Tolstoy. He was 
thirty- four years of age, and his young wife 
eighteen. 












1 































I 

























































" 






■ 













































































* 


' 




















. 





















































1 



- 



' 


















1 




























































' 


















i 



















































I 



























CHAPTER VII 



THE EARLY DAYS OF MARRIED LIFE 






During the first period of his married life Tolstoy's 
days were filled with domestic happiness. In a 
letter to his friend, Fet, he says : " I am married 



and happy ; I am a new — quite a new — man. 
But his rapturous delight did not interfere with 
his literary work. He completed the first part of 

i 

" The Cossacks " — the second part of which, un- 
happily, he never finished — and, at the same 
period, prepared and published a sketch called 
PoliTcushha. Tolstoy himself, in a letter to Fet, 
gives the following opinion of these works : 

" I live in a world so far away from literature 
and critics that on receiving a letter like yours 
my first sentiment is astonishment. Who wrote 



'The 



Cossacks ' and PolikushJca ? And what 



p 

may be said on their account ? Paper is patient, 

and the publisher pays for and prints everything. 

But that is only the first impression. When I begin 

to look into the meaning of the words and to 

search my mind, somewhere, in a corner amongst 

69 
























70 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 



old, forgotten rubbish, I find a vague feeling which 
may be called artistic. Comparing this with what 




you say, I admit that you are right, and even 
find pleasure in rummaging among such old rub- 
bish and memories instinct with the fragrance of 
the past, once so dear to me. Even the desire to 
write is awakened. Certainly you are right. But 
readers like you are few. Polihushha is gossip 
about the first subject to hand by a man who 
knows how to handle a pen ; i The Cossacks ' has 
more vitality, though also rather poor work. I am 

now writing the story of a horse, which I hope to 
publish in the autumn." 

His creative energy soon reasserted itself, and 
he conceived the idea of a gigantic work. His 
attention was drawn to the remarkable epoch of 
the Decembrists,* and he desired to represent it 
in an artistic form. The results of the preliminary 

* 

work were fragments published in the complete 
edition of his works. Studying that historic 
period, he did not neglect to examine the causes 
of the events he wished to describe, and the whole 
period of the Napoleonic wars unfolded itself 
before him. Impassioned by his subject, he gave 
himself up to it with the whole strength of his 



* 



attempt of 14th December, 1825 



/ 



the best families of the nobility were involved. — Translator 






















Countess Tolstoy 



» 












. 



























\ 



EARLY DAYS OF MARRIED LIFE 7* 

genius. The great work, " War and Peace," 
gradually evolved. There were many difficulties 
and obstacles, but he overcame them by the 
power of his genius, now aroused to full activity. 
From letters to his friends we see the various 
stages through which the work passed to its com- 
pletion : 



a 




am in a very anxious state of mind. 





am writing nothing, though working hard. You 
cannot imagine how difficult for me is the pre- 
liminary work of ploughing deeply the field where 
must sow. I must think, and think again, over 
what may happen to all the personages of my 
future large work, and to consider millions of 
possible combinations, and choose from them 
the millionth part. It is extremely difficult. 
That is what I am occupied with." 

In a. later letter to Fet he writes : 

" This autumn I made enough progress with my 



novel. Ars longa, vita brevis. I am thinking 
every day. If one could do the one hundredth 
part of what one intends ! But, in reality, only 
one millionth part is accomplished. Nevertheless, 
the conviction that he can write brings happiness 
to the author. You know this feeling. This year 
feel it stronger than ever." 
At the very height of this period of hard work, 

























72 THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 

w 

Tolstoy, whilst hunting, was thrown by his horse 



and broke his right arm. Eendered unconscious 
by the pain, he found, on regaining his senses, that 
his horse had run away. Though suffering greatly, 
he crept to the high road, where he lay down until 
some passers-by conveyed him home on a cart. 
It is difficult to imagine such a tragic picture : 
the future creator of " War and Peace " lying help- 
less, with a broken arm, on the high road, waiting 
to be picked up by a chance passer-by. 

Deprived for a while of the use of his right hand, 
Tolstoy continued his work by dictating to his 
sister-in-law. He was also obliged to separate 
himself temporarily from his family, as the treat- 
ment for his arm obliged him to go to Moscow. 
Already, after a month, he writes jokingly to Fet : 

must tell you something surprising about 
myself. When the horse threw me and broke 




my arm, upon regaining consciousness, I said to 
myself, ' I am a literary man.' Yes, I am a literary 
man, but in seclusion and hiding. In a few days 



( i m c J 



the first instalment of the first volume of 1815 
will appear. Please write me your opinion in 



detail. Yours, and that of a man whom I love 
more and more with advancing years (Turgenef ) are 
dear to me. He will understand. What I wrote 



previously I consider only as a trial of my pen 



/ 









* 









EARLY DAYS OF MARRIED LIFE 73 






Although I like what I am publishing now better 
than former writings, nevertheless this also seems 
uninteresting, as the beginning of a book some- 



5> 



times is. But that which will follow ! 

From this letter it is clear how, through the 
modesty of genius, his indomitable creative power 

t 

asserted itself and his plans developed. 

" 1815 " was the original title of " War and 
Peace." Studying that epoch, he worked among 
the historical and military archives, interviewed 
survivors of that period, visited the battlefield of 
Borodino, and was so transported with joy by the 
picture flashing before his imagination that he 
wrote to his wife : 



If God grants health and peace, I shall give 
such a picture of the battle of Borodino as has 
never yet been done." 









The work absorbed him entirely, and when he 
was especially satisfied with his writing he used 
to say to his family : 

" To-day I left a bit of my life in my ink-pot." 
This great work occupied six whole years 
from 1863 to 1869. The critics did not at once 
appreciate its value. They were staggered. Liberal 
critics, not understanding its meaning and artistic 
beauties, accused Tolstoy of reactionary views — of 
preaching the philosophy of stagnation, etc. On 









\ 













































74 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 



the other hand, the conservative critics saw in the 






description of battles only patriotic tendencies ; 
and even so refined an author as Turgenef, and a 






literary connoisseur and friend like Botkin, were 

not immediately captured by " War and Peace.'* 
But if the victory gained by this work was slow it 
was all the more complete, its influence increasing 
by degrees as successive instalments appeared. 

" to be 



The writer considers " War and Peace 



the 



highest 



development 



of 



Tolstoy's artistic 



creative power, and therefore purposes to dwell a 
little longer on this work, which nearly approaches 
perfection. The descriptions of nature, of the 
movement of crowds, the fine moral analysis — all 
these are intermingled in exquisite harmony and 

proportion. The terrible collision of army corps, 
the streets of noisy towns, the country houses of 
the nobility, with their surrounding villages, the 
drawing-rooms of high society, the nursery of a 
happy mother, the romantic intrigues of loving 
young people, the execution of a military prisoner, 
the psychology of the crowd, and the smallest detail 
of the suffering soul of the hero, the snow-covered 
plains of Eussia, and the silent field of Austerlitz, 
covered with corpses and abandoned wounded, 
with the all-forgiving, starry sky overhead — all 
these are described with a simplicity and truth 



























EARLY DAYS OF MARRIED LIFE 75 

never till then attained by any master of literature 
nor ever likely to be surpassed. 

The two heroes, Prince Andrew and Pierre 
Bezukhoff, deserve special attention. They are 
the incarnation of the two sides of Tolstoy's nature, 
so inclined to analysis and scepticism. When he 
wrote " War and Peace " he had not achieved that 
great synthesis of reason and love which later 
inspired all his works. Prince Andrew and Pierre 
represent the two forces always at strife in Tolstoy's 
own soul : cold reason and invincible idealism. 
The truth was lying on the distant crossing point 
of those two lines, where reason became the highest 
reason and idealism was transformed into love. 

In the artistic portion of the novel, Tolstoy has 
interwoven his own idea with the philosophy of 
history, which he expounded more fully in a special 
article : 

" A few words on c War and Peace.' The point 
of greatest interest for me is the insignificant role 
played in the development of historical events by 
the so-called great men. Studying the highly 
tragic period of the Napoleonic wars, so crowded 

■v. 

with great events, so recent, on which such varied 



traditions are preserved, I come to the definite 
conclusion that the causes of historical events are' 
concealed from our reason. 































THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 









j 



" Such an event as that when millions of people 
fought each other, half a million of whom were 
actually killed, could not have been caused by the 

r 

will of one man. Just as it is impossible for one 
man to undermine a mountain, so is it impossible 
for one man to force five hundred thousand persons 
to lay down their lives." 

The laws of human life are compared by Tolstoy 
with a stencil plate, and human desires, strivings, 
and acts to the colours which are carelessly painted 
over the plate. Thanks to the stencil plate, in 
spite of a carelessly handled brush, we procure a 
correct design, because the paint does not show 
wherever we happen to apply it, but only at those 
parts reached through the pattern cut in the plate. 
So, from the thousands of our inco- ordinate de- 
sires, only those are realised which correspond 
with the open spaces in some great stencil plate 
of life. 

The most active period of Tolstoy's life was the 
'sixties. Despite his great literary work, he did 
not neglect his social duties. He occupied himself 
with the estate, spent part of his time with his 
family, hunted, and so forth. In 1866 he appeared 
as the defender of the soldier, Shibunin, who, for 






striking his officer, was condemned to death by 
the military tribunal. Tolstoy's defence was not 




































EARLY DAYS OF MARRIED LIFE 



77 



successful : lie could not save Shibunin, who 
was shot. But this event, according to his own • 
words, did not pass without its due effect upon 









Tolstoy : 



<c 






k 



I vaguely felt, even then," he recently wrote 
in a letter, " that capital punishment, this pre- 
meditated murder, is in direct contradiction to 
that Christian law which we, so to speak, confess, 
and destroys every possibility of a rational life as 
well as any morality, because it is evident that if 
one person or a committee of men can decide 
that it is necessary to kill one or more persons 
there is no reason why one or more such persons 
should not find equal necessity for killing other 
people." 

Further analysing the vindication by science 
or by the Church of capital punishment, he con- 
cludes : 

Yes, this case had a great and beneficial 



9 



u 



influence on me. On that 



for the first 



time, I felt two things : that violence pre-supposes 
murder or threats of it for its accomplishment, and 
that therefore all violence is inevitably connected 
with murder ; secondly, that a State organisation 
is inconceivable without murder, and consequently 
cannot accord with Christianity." 

At the same period of life, some of Tolstoy's 

























THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 






later social ideas were conceived. In his note 
book of 1865 we find the following interesting 
observations : 

" The historical mission of Eussia consists in 
bringing before the world the idea of the socialisa- 
tion of land. 

" ' La propriete c'est le vol ' will remain a greater 

truth for humanity than that of the English con- 
stitution. It is an absolute truth, but there are 
relative truths as the outcome of its application. 
The first of these relative truths is the conception 

of property by the Russian people. The Russian 
people decry private ownership in land, which is 
the most fundamental form of property, least of 
all an outcome of work, and, more than any, barring 
the acquisition of property by other people. This is 
not a dream; it is a fact realised by the Russian 
peasants' communes and those of the Cossacks. 
This truth is equally well understood by the edu- 

'Let 




only a Russian revolution may be 



cated Russian and the peasant who says 

the Government inscribe us as Cossacks, and the 

land will be free for us all.' This idea has a future, 

and on 

based. Such a revolution will not be directed 
against the Tsar and despotism, but against 
private ownership in land, and the people will say 
' Take from each what you like, but leave us the 













EARLY DAYS OF MARRIED LIFE 79 

land.' Absolutism does not interfere with, but 
rather favours, this order of things." 

These are the germs of ideas developed by 
Tolstoy so powerfully in his later works. Already 



we see here the beginning of his sympathy with 
Henry George's idea of land nationalisation by the 
Single Tax system, which Tolstoy defended till his 
death. 












































































































CHAPTER VIII 















THE ANNA KARENIN PERIOD 



Towards the end of the 'sixties, when Tolstoy had 



finished his " War and Peace," he was brooding 
over new projects of popular instruction, inter- 
rupted, as we saw, in 1862. As usual, he threw 
his whole energy into the work, and published his 
well-known reading-book for beginners. Again he 
created a model school, collected teachers around 
him, took an active part in the proceedings of the 
Moscow Committee for the Promotion of Primary 
Instruction, and published an article " On Popular 
Instruction " in a St. Petersburg radical monthly 



review, 



Annals 




the Fatherland — an article 



which aroused quite a storm in the educational and 
literary world. 

Surveying with a sharp and pitiless eye the 



existing system 



of 



popular instruction, 



with 



new arguments he vindicated free schools, as he 
had done before in his review, Yasnaya Polyana. 
Tolstoy's views were heatedly discussed in the 

periodicals of that time and in educational circles. 

80 



- 
















ANNA KARENIN PERIOD 81 

i 

An ardent partisan of Tolstoy's amongst the peda- 



gogues was the well-known A. N. Strannolubsky, 

- 

and in the press N. K. Mikhailovsky. 

Of course, Tolstoy, this time also, did not suc- 
ceed in shaking the routine in schools, established, 



as he expressed it, "by a Zemstvo -Ministerial 
Department," but his agitation gave another 
impulse to the Russian educational world : 
awakened its conscience, holding up new, living 





ideals, and it is no exaggeration to say that 

Russian schools are free compared with those of 

western Europe, we owe this in great part to 
Tolstoy. 

During this time he published " A New Primer " 
and reading-books, which became well known in 
Russia and circulated in many million copies, 
being even frequently plagiarised, notwithstanding 
their rejection by the Ministry of Education. 

It seemed as if, during this educational activity, 
his artistic powers had accumulated, and once 
again he betook himself to purely literary work. 
At first he chose the epoch of Peter the Great. In 
December, 1872, he wrote to N. Strakhoff : 



" Till now I have not been working. I am 
surrounded by books on Peter the Great and his 



time. I read, I mark; I try to write, but can- 
not. But what a wonderful epoch for an artist ! 



G 






























82 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 



Wherever you turn, problems, enigmas, the solution 
of which may be given by a poet only. The whole 
crux of Russian life is there. It seems to me that 
nothing will come out of my preparations, 
studying and agitating myself too much." 




am 



The more he studied the subject the greater 
were the obstacles confronting him when trying to 
describe it ; and in the end — in the summer of 
1873 — he abandoned those studies altogether. 



According to A. S. Behrs, the reason of this 



was : 



" Tolstoy found that his personal opinion on 
Peter the Great was diametrically opposed to that 
of the general public, and the whole epoch appeared 
to him unsympathetic. Tolstoy asserted that the 
personality and activity of Peter showed no great- 
ness, and that, on the contrary, all his qualities 
were bad. His so-called great reforms were not 
adopted for the good of the State, but for his 
personal profit. The old, high aristocracy being in 
opposition to his reforms, Peter founded a new 
capital, (St.) Petersburg, in order to separate him- 
self from them and to be able to pursue his per- 
sonal, immoral life. The nobility at that time played 
a role of great importance, and consequently were 
dangerous to him. His reforms and ideas were 
borrowed from Saxony, where the code of laws was 













C 
O 

G 

CC 

OS 



U 

S3 

b 

CU 

H 



?3 



^ 






=s 









' 



























I 









( 












\ 


































■ 












ANNA KARENIN PERIOD 83 



most cruel and moral license had attained its 
greatest height, which specially suited Peter. Thus 
Tolstoy explained Peter's friendship with the 
Kurfiirst of Saxony, one of the most immoral 



amongst the crowned heads of that period. Tol- 



stoj* explained Peter's intimacy with Menshikoff, a 
former street vendor, and Lefort, a Swiss adven- 
turer, by the contempt in which the old nobility 
held Peter, and amongst whom he could not find 
a companion in his gay, depraved life. But 
Tolstoy was most of all revolted by the assassin- 
ation of the Tsarevitch Alexis." 

At last Tolstoy's creative powers found a sub- 
ject worthy of their application. A comparatively 
small incident set him writing. Reading aloud the 
beginning of one of Pushkin's novels : " The guests 

arrived at the country house," etc., Tolstoy 
observed, " That is the way to begin ; Pushkin is 
our master. He at once brings the reader into the 
middle of action. Others would first describe the 
guests, the rooms, but Pushkin starts the business 
directly." And going to his study, Tolstoy straight- 
way wrote down the first pages of a novel, the 
subject of which had already been a long time in 
his mind. The plot was based on the suicide of a 
young woman who threw herself under the train 



near the station Yasenky. Tolstoy knew her, and 

































8 4 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 









was present when the inquest was held. The cause 
of the suicide was a romance. 

Intending to write a story of a society lady who 



had left her husband, Tolstoy chose as a motto the 
biblical saying, " Vengeance is mine ; I will repay," 
with the intention of explaining the fundamental 
idea of the story as that people have no right to 
judge others — that judgment belongs to the Creator 

* 

of the laws governing the existence of humanity. 
For human relations there is but one law : that of 
mercy. Among all the literary critics, only the 
novelist Dostoevsky understood " Anna Karenin " 

He wrote a splendid article in his 






in 



this 



sense. 



Diary of an Author ' ' : 

" There is One who says, ' Vengeance is Mine ; I 
will repay.' Only He knows the whole mystery of 

this world and the eventual fate of mankind. Man 
should not j udge with the pride of his infallibility ; 
the hour and time have not yet come. The man 
who judges must recognise in his own heart that 
the balance and measure will be an absurdity in 
his hands if he himself will not bow before the law 
of inscrutable mystery, and seek the only way out 
mercy and love. And this issue has been shown 
to man in order that he may not perish of despair 
through not seeing his path or his destiny, and 
through the conviction that evil is mysterious and 












*> 



\ 



ANNA KARENIN PERIOD 85 

unavoidable. This salvation is pointed out in the 
powerful scene of the illness of the heroine, when 
criminals and enemies are transformed into superior 
beings, into brothers pardoning each other, by 
mutual forgiveness liberating themselves from lies, 
faults, and crimes, and thus at once purifying them- 
selves with the full consciousness that pardon has 
become theirs by right. 

Unfortunately, Dostoevsky did not agree with 

Tolstoy about the end of the novel, when Levin, the 
positive character of the story, declares himself 
hostile to the volunteer movement for Servia. This 
divergence was caused by the Slavophile tendencies 
from which Dostoevsky could not emancipate him- 
self. 

In opposition to the history of the fallen woman, 
Anna Karenin, another story of spotless family 
happiness is developed in which we can trace much 

■ 

of Tolstoy's own home-life. The third element is 
the spiritual development of Levin, who, from a 
sceptic and egoist, little by little is transformed 
into a Christian, receiving from an artless peasant 
his faith, the quintessence of which is shortly 



expressed in the formula, "To live for God and 
your own soul." 

The religious note now sounded in Tolstoy's 
literary work was the echo of a religious process 






























86 THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 






taking place at that time in his mind. It turned 
away many liberal critics from him, whilst the con- 
servatives, not understanding with whom they had 
to deal, hurried to proclaim Tolstoy as one o 




"theirs." He stood alone, not inclining towards 
either side — tracing his own way. 

t 

Whilst writing " Anna Karenin," Tolstoy took 
a very active part in assisting the starving popu- 
lation of the Samara province, and earned the 
thanks of many hearts. In 1873, with his family, 
he spent the summer in the province on his newly 
acquired estate. Observing the life of the surround- 
ing peasantry, Tolstoy foresaw that the great 
calamity of a famine was menacing the population, 
and the Zemstvos and the State were doing nothing 
to avert it. After a careful investigation in some 
neighbouring villages, and armed with statistics, 
he published in August, in the Moscow Gazette, an 
appeal for help. At the same time he attracted 
the attention of certain high personages at court ; 
donations came in lavishly, and the present misery 
was considerably alleviated. Altogether nearly 
two million roubles in money, besides much grain, 
were collected for the sufferers. The following 
harvest was abundant, so that the aid given had 



\ 



really been timely, as it afforded the population 
the means wherewith to bridge over the hard times. 
























ANNA KARENIN PERIOD 8 7 

The strenuous activity of the seventies, his 
family cares and duties, the question of the educa- 
tion of the children, his successful literary career, 

his beneficent social work — all these did not fully 
satisfy Tolstoy, and at the end of that period the 
same doubts about the meaning of life arose as he 
had experienced after the death of his brother, 
towards the end of his bachelor life. At that time, 
as we know from Tolstoy's own words, he overcame 
those doubts by his marriage, which opened to him 
a new and yet untried side of life. But now these 
doubts, not being subdued by any outside influence, 
returned with renewed strength and inevitably 
carried him on to the crisis of his life. 












































































































CHAPTER IX 



THE CRISIS 



From 



childhood Tolstoy had always inclined 






towards religion. This inclination was first stifled 
by the traditional rites and ceremonies of the 
Orthodox Church, then by the full play of his 
passions, his eventful life, his literary success and 
fame, by different philosophic theories, and finally 
by his family life. Nevertheless, this religious dis- 
position was never quite extinguished, and from 
time to time it manifested itself. But when the 
last illusion had gone, this powerful sentiment 
gathered up and, like a torrent, rushed along, 

- 

sweeping aside every obstacle in its way. 

The substance of religion, as Tolstoy had always 
faintly conceived it, was the relation of man to the 
fundamental principle of the universe ; this rela- 
tion, and his unity with it, produced in man the 
conviction of indestructibility, and belief in immor- 



tality. 



Without this belief, life, with the eternal 



dread of death, would be terribly absurd — even 
worse than annihilation itself. The conceptions 

88 



I 




































THE CRISIS 







which led to this belief in immortality were love, 
self-sacrifice, service to others, to the world, to God 
generally, the sacrifice of the ego and devotion 
to humanity. 

These thoughts were rising in his mind at the 
best moments of his life ; his religious ideas were 
for the first time clearly formulated in the Caucasus, 
where the beauty of nature invigorated his soul 
and the doors of eternity seemed to open before 
him, shedding on him the rays of a heavenly light. 
But he was not yet ready to receive this light. He 
had to pass through many years of suffering before 
the momentary, passing recognition of the futility 
of worldly interests became a fixed conviction. 
Internal, secret growth of the spirit had to run 
parallel with physical development ; inevitable 
conflicts between the physical personality and the 
religious conscience were necessary to decide once 
for all which was to predominate and influence his 
life. In this encounter victory remained with 
religion, and the power of the physical personality 
was broken for ever. 

No illusion could ever restore the importance of 
the material side of life. In such a struggle souls 
often perish, and spiritual death is certainly the 
worst which may befall a man. Though Tolstoy 
did not perish spiritually, he lost much strength in 



























90 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 



this struggle, and when he triumphed, like a new- 
born child he scarcely could conceive the greatness 
of the existence he was entering upon. All the 
stages of this process are told with inimitable 
sincerity in his " Confession." The state of mind 
of a man who has lost all interest in a worldly life, 

;e it. is 






but has not yet found anything to 



pla 



described by Tolstoy in the images of an Oriental 
tale: 

" To save himself from a wild beast, a traveller 
jumps into a dry well, but perceives at the bottom 



a drag 



with open jaws 



9 



dy to devour him 



Not daring to climb out of the well and 



order 



not to be devoured by the dragon, the man catches 
hold of the branches of a wild shrub growing in a 
crack in the wall of the well. But his arms grow 
tired, and he feels that he must soon succumb to 
one or other of the menacing dangers. He holds 
on, however, when he sees two mice, one white and 
one black, at the foot of the shrub, steadily run- 
ning around 




and 



gnawing it through. 



He 



sees 



that at any moment the shrub may topple over, 
and he must drop into the j a ws of the dragon. The 
traveller feels that he is inevitably lost ; he gazes 
around and discovers a few drops of honey on the 
shrub. He can reach them with his tongue, and 
licks them up. Thus do I cling to the branches of 












THE CRISIS 91 

life, knowing that the jaws of death may close on 
me at any moment, and I cannot understand why 




am in such torture. I am trying to suck the 



honey which used to comfort me, but now I do 
not enjoy it. The black and white mice continue 
day and night to gnaw the branch to which I cling. 
I clearly see the dragon and the mice, and cannot 
take my eyes off them. This is not a fable, but a 
clear, indisputable truth, evident to everybody." 

All the wise men of the world whom Tolstoy 
addressed with the question of the meaning of life 
answered that life was evil and meaningless ; and 
he decided to quit life, and was near to suicide. 
But his love for the people, his interest in the life 
of the workers, who saw a meaning in life, saved 
him. He put to himself the question : " Is life 



perhaps evil and meaningless because I am living 
wrongly ? That is to say, is my life evil and 
meaningless — my life and that of all those of my 
circle who, like myself, do not see any meaning in 
life ? " 

The question so sincerely put to himself brought 
him salvation. There was only one answer: 
working people, serving others, learn the meaning 
of life, love life, and are not afraid to die. This 
meaning of life for the people has taken the shape 
of religion. Tolstoy accepted this religion of the 





















92 THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 









people, wishing to unite himself with them in their 
adoration of God. But the process of his regener- 
ation was not yet complete. As he tells himself 






periodically, his soul was lifted up only to be cast 

down: 

" What is the meaning of this spiritual ecstasy 






and death ? I am not living when I lose belief in 




the existence of God, and long ago I would 
killed myself but for the faint hope of finding Him. 




y> 



only live when I seek and feel Him. But why 

am I yet seeking ? a voice asked within me. Here 

He is. Without Him there is no life. To know 

' God and to live are synonymous. God is life. 

He was saved from despair, life returned to 
him — the very life force of his youth — but now it 
was a conscious life ; he had found God, and had 
faith in Him. And his faith was one with that 
of the working people. Tolstoy himself describes 
the end of his search and doubts : 

" I renounced the life of my circle, but I recog- 
nised that it was not life but an imitation ; that 
the luxury in which we lived deprived us of the 
capacity to understand life, and in order to under- 
stand life I must understand not the mode of 



existence of us parasites of life, who are exceptions, 
but that of the toilers, those who create life and 



the meaning of life. The simple working people 





















THE CRISIS 93 

around me were Russians, and I addressed myself 
to them for the meaning which they give to life. 
Their meaning was the following : ' Man is created 
by God, and made in such a way that he can save 
or lose his soul. The problem for every man is to 
save his soul. To save his soul he must live accord- 
ing to God's will, and in order to live according to 
God's will he must renounce all the pleasures of 
life ; he must labour, be humble, patient, and 
merciful.' The people gather this meaning of life 
from their religion, transmitted to them by their 
pastors, and preserved among them by tradition. 
This conception is clear to me, and near to my 

heart." 

But this peaceful haven was only a stage on 
the road to his religious development. The form 
of the popular religion being the Greek Orthodox 
Church and its creed, Tolstoy, adopting it, came 
soon in direct collision with the established 
Church. For him, faith meant salvation from 
death. The Church creed, however, at its best 
was only serving the interest of the State. Soon 
Tolstoy recognised that his faith, purified by 
reason, had nothing in common with the Church 
creed but a few religious terms. In order to have 
the right to assert this, he submitted the dogma 
of the Orthodox Church to severe examination. 



* 
























94 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 












The results lie published in his book, " A Criticism 
of Dogmatic Theology." 



Freeing himself from the creed of the Church, 
he was inevitably led to examine the teaching of 
Christianity as contained in the Bible, and conse- 
quently the Bible itself. He did this in a lengthy 
work, " The Four Gospels Unified and Trans- 
lated." In this work, step by step, he analysed the 
text of the Gospels, throwing aside that which was 
not clear or not directly connected with the main 
idea of Christianity. The passages clearly express- 
ing this principal idea he arranged in a connected, 
easily understood form, and the whole teaching 
assumed a complete, harmonious, and popular 
character. Arriving at the very root of Christianity, 

r 

Tolstoy undertook a new work to explain his con- 
ception of it : " What is My Faith ? " It may be 
said that, with this book, the cycle of his religious 
development was accomplished. 



















































J 



CHAPTER X 



" WHAT THEN MUST WE DO ? 



» 



In his " What is My Faith ? " Tolstoy writes : 



I " 



Five, years ago I adopted the teaching 



of Christ, and my life suddenly changed ; 




ceased to wish that which I formerly wished, 



and I began to wish that which I formerly did 
not wish. What formerly appeared good now 
appeared evil ; and what formerly appeared 
evil now appeared good. With me happened 
just what happened to a man who went out for 
some business and on the way decided that it 
was unnecessary, and therefore returned. All 
that which was at the right side, then was at the 
left side, and that which had seemed on the left 
was then on the right ; the desire to be as far as 
possible from home gave way to the desire to be as 
near as possible to home. The direction of my life 
my desires — became different ; and good and 
evil changed places. All this was the result of 
my understanding the teaching of Christ otherwise 

■ 

than before." 

i 95 


















i 










THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 






Thus he saw in a new light all his surroundings 
and his own conduct. But life went on in the same 
way, and his new relation to it inevitably led to a 
series of collisions. Such collisions he could not 
avoid, even in his own family life, till then happy 
and tranquil, nor among his literary friends and his 
acquaintances in the high society to which he him- 
self belonged. Finally, the conflict between his 
new conceptions and his surroundings extended 
itself to the State. 

The events of Kussian life at that period require 
special attention. The fundamental breaking up 
of the old order had begun, and the first thunder- 
bolt fell on March 13th, 1881. The Revolutionary 
Executive Committee condemned Alexander II. to 
death, and carried out the sentence. This event 
shook the whole Russian nation, and made a deep 
impression on Tolstoy. It appeared to him as a 

confirmation of his conviction that the Russian 
State and society had lost the very foundation of 
Christian morality, but, on the other hand, the 
two hostile camps awakened in him boundless pity 
as he saw their profound error. 

He addressed a long letter to the Emperor, 
Alexander III. He pleaded to the Tsar to pardon 
the culprits for the sake of Christ's teaching, as he 
considered the only way of Russia's salvation lay 
























"WHAT THEN MUST WE DO?" 97 

in the precepts of Jesus. The two other methods 
— cruel repression and liberal reforms — had been 
tried and had failed. No answer was made to this 
letter, and the regicides were executed. These 
events made a deep impression on his soul. 

At that time a great change took place in his 
home life. He went with his family to live in 
Moscow. Town life was a great trial for Tolstoy : 
the crying contrast between the city beggars and 
the insolent opulence of the rich ; at every street 
corner hungry beggars with hands stretched out for 
alms, and gluttons gorging themselves in brilliantly 
lighted restaurants ; coachmen shivering on their 
boxes whilst their masters enjoyed the music of the 
theatres or churches — all this made his heart ache, 
imbued as he was with the Christian spirit and 
seeking for its manifestation around him. 

In the winter of 1882 a census was taken in 
Moscow. Tolstoy conceived the idea of seizing the 
occasion to penetrate into the worst and most 
wretched slums of the poor, in order to study them 
and devise some means of alleviation. He made an 
appeal to Moscow society, inviting it to make use 
of the coming census in order to get into touch 
with the poor and to extend to them unfailing 
brotherly and Christian help. The resources needed 
for this purpose he supposed might be collected by 



i 



I 

* 



H 


















9» 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 



public subscription, philanthropic evenings, and 
by personal demand for help and sympathy from 
the rich. 

Tolstoy offered his services to the Moscow 






municipality for the census, and, according to his 
express wish, he was appointed to one of the 
poorest quarters of the city, where the night 
shelters of Koshnoff are situated. During the 
census, Tolstoy plumbed to the very bottom of 
Moscow's poverty and wretchedness, but all his 

efforts to organise some system of assistance were 
unsuccessful. He had an experience somewhat 
similar to that attending his philanthropic efforts 

among the peasants forty years before, described 
in the sketch, " A Morning of a Landowner." He 

now, as then, saw that the poverty and destitution 
of these people were the result of the worldly, 
luxurious life which he himself lived, and conse- 
quently that it was impossible to help those people 
whose sufferings were the direct outcome of one's 
own idle life — that real aid, the result of a moral 
and brotherly feeling, could not be given to people 
looking on one with defiance and hatred. 



This 



unsuccessful 



attempt 



at 



charity 



was 



described by Tolstoy in a book, " What Then Must 
We Do ? " He carefully, and in detail, examined 
the condition of the town, the division of the popu- 
















The Last Portrait of Tolstoy— taken six weeks before his death 


















I 




































- 






- 






■' 






. 






' 















'. 


















i€ 



WHAT THEN MUST WE DO ? " 99 



lation into rich and poor, idle and working, and 
reached the conclusion that only a radical change 
in the whole social order could abolish the dreadful, 
bitter, and savage poverty created by the opulent 
and idle life of the privileged classes. 

Tolstoy considered money one of the principal 
evils of the existing social order, as money is, so to 
say, concentrated compulsion, easily transferred to 
another. Our false social order is upheld by false 
science with its complicated theories justifying 
existing evil. 

" What then must we do ? "' Tolstoy asked 
again, laying bare all the sores of the existing order 
by a subtle and merciless analysis. The answer 
he gave is the same as that given by John the 
Baptist to his contemporaries : repent, be re-born, 
give to the poor, not a farthing or a shilling from 
your thousands and millions, but share with the 
poor their hard, working lives. Accordingly, Tol- 
stoy began to reform his own life ; he renounced 
everything superfluous — wine, tobacco, meat, etc. 
and endeavoured to spend his time in productive 
work for the general welfare. He divided his days 



into four parts, and gave the first part to intel 



lectual work, the second to hard physical labour, 
the third to crafts and light manual labour, and 
the fourth to intercourse with people. He tried 





















ioo THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 









to repress anger and excitability in himself, to be 
gentle with everybody, to tame his pride, and 
continued his struggle against evil passions and 
habits. 

Town-life began to be very heavy for him, and 
when the occasion presented itself he would return 
to Yasnaya Polyana. Sometimes he travelled the 
whole distance on foot. In the village he invari- 
ably threw himself heart and soul into the peasants' 

work — ploughing, mowing, cutting wood, building 
peasants' huts, especially for widows and orphans. 

The spreading of his new views and his new 
way of living soon began to attract those people 
in whom the same ideas and feelings were slumber- 
ing, but who awaited a powerful initiative before ; 
starting together upon a new road. Some of these I 
people came to him, others Tolstoy found himself ; 
and in this way was formed around him a circle of 
new men, quite different from his former acquaint- j 
ances. With the latter he did not break formally, j 
but they left him little by little, feeling unable to 
follow him. The remarkable peasant Sutaieff, the 
painter N. Gay, the teacher Orloff, Feodoroff, the 
librarian of the Eoumiantsef Museum, the peasant 
Bondaref (afterwards exiled to Siberia) — such as 
these were Tolstoy's new friends. The light of his 
faith began to penetrate also his former social circle ; 












it 



WHAT THEN MUST WE DO?" 101 



V. G. Tehertkoff made his acquaintance, and, 
through him, the writer of these lines. Tolstoy be- 
gan to evolve a project to help the people in a new 
way : to select from the rich heritage of centuries 
of culture, art, and science all that is most useful 
and accessible and that leads to the welfare and 

union of mankind. The publishing society of 
Posrednik (" The Mediator ") was started, and 

Tolstoy inaugurated a new sphere for his activity 

that of the propagation of his ideas, now fully 

developed. This was during the middle of the 

'eighties. 



/ 






















































\ 



















































CHAPTER XI 



• « 






POPULAR LITERATURE 



When in Moscow, Tolstoy frequently visited the 
Nikolsky Market and the Ilinsky Gate, where, 
during the 'eighties, the pedlars used to buy their 
stock of popular literature. Tolstoy had long 
since wished to bring new blood into this litera- 
ture, which at that period was a strange mixture 
of booklets on saints* lives, patriotic military 
tales, and strange romantic adventures, mostly 
written by illiterate people in a coarse style, often 
without beginning or end, and, generally, indiges- 
tible as intellectual food. Strange to say, Kussian 
literature of that period was illustrious with 
great names, but not a single one — poets, novel- 
ists, or scientists — was ever brought before the 
mass of the people. This injustice Tolstoy was 



disposed, if not to remedy entirely, at least to 
reduce as much as possible. 

As a beginning, he wrote a series of highly 
artistic tales to be published in the form of popu- 
lar literature, but in good style, with attractive 

1 02 






. 












POPULAR LITERATURE 103 



illustrations and such moral tendencies as Tolstoy 
alone was capable of imparting. The form of 
these tales, the language and style, were so simple 
and perfect that it was impossible to add or to 
omit a single word ; they were comprehensible 
and pleasing to young and old alike. 

To the realisation of this splendid project, 
Tolstoy's friend, V. 6. Tchertkoff, gave a great 
deal of moral and material assistance, and the 
business side of the plan was carried out with 
great success by T. D. Sitin, at that time a small 
Moscow publisher of popular literature, and now 
the head of the big publishing firm of T. D. Sitin 
and Co. The success of the Posrednik is due 
in great part to his energy, business knowledge, 
and sincere devotion to the cause. The author 
of this book took also a modest part in the initia- 
tion of the business. To give an idea how suc- 



cessful our enterprise proved to be, I here quote 
a few figures of our editions. Each of Tolstoy's 
booklets was seldom printed in less than 24,000 
copies, and yearly we had five of such editions. 
The number of our publications began to grow 
so fast that we soon had to count copies by the 
million. Towards the end of the fourth year we 
saw that the approximate number of copies sold 
was 12,000,000, which meant 3,000,000 annually. 

































io4 THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 









As the authors did not copyright any of their 
writings for the PosredniJc, many other pub- 
lishers brought out reprints of our books. The 
number of these reprints is not known, but is, 
without doubt, immense. Our publications grew 
so in quantity that it was impossible even for the 
Government inspectors to keep full control, and 
sometimes hundreds of thousands of copies eluded 
their vigilant eyes. Three to four millions yearly 
were kept up a fairly long time. The Report of the 
Moscow Committee of the Society for the Promo- 
tion of Popular Instruction, in the middle of the 
'nineties, also states the number of copies sold of 
the publications of the PosredniJc as 3,500,000 
yearly. 

The soul of this great enterprise was Tolstoy, 
who gave much of his energy to it. The first 
publications were tales from his reading-book 
" The Prisoner of the Caucasus," " God Sees the 
Truth." Later were published " What People are 






Living By," "A Fire Neglected Consumes the 
House," " Where Love is there is God," " Two Old 
Men," " The Candle," and " Ivan the Fool." Soon 
many of the best Russian authors followed Tol- 
stoy's example, and Posrednih published popular 
editions of Leskoff, Garshin, Ertel, Potekhin, 
Ostrovsky, Savikhin, Obolensky, Wagner, Nemiro- 

























^ 














V 


























1 





























. ■ 

■ 



■ 


















pia 



, .... 


.--■ 


. . 


'.' 


- ■ . 


■■ 




.,*. *x* 


#-'*'■ . ■"q'f 


m ** w ■*** "i 






, ■: 


■ ■ * 4 


' 


* 






. , .:■ 


■ II"' *'"* 






-x 


■ x"; x*; 






■: 






■■ 



V 



■ ..- 



> ■ 



: 

■;■; : 

: :■ ■ 



:v. v v .-,- ■:■'■ \ ■: . . ■■: 




x--:*<:*;£;£j 



The Last Illness. 



Tolstoy in his Bedroom, talking to 
Dr. Makovitski. 






■ 



























K 









POPULAR LITERATURE 105 



vitch-Danchenko, Mamin-Sibiriak, etc. Besides 
books, popular pictures were issued by artists 
like Repin, Kivshenko, Savitsky, and Sologub, 
and also reproductions from foreign masterpieces ; 
the text for these pictures was always written 
or edited by Tolstoy himself. 

While serving the people as an author, Tolstoy 
never neglected his physical labours. When 
living in Moscow he was frequently cutting and 
splitting wood, drawing water, working as a 
cobbler ; and he wore boots made by himself. 

In early spring he was in the habit of returning 
to Yasnaya Polyana, often on foot with a knapsack 
on his back. There he shared in the peasants' 
work: ploughing, manuring, sowing, haymaking, 
harvesting. When at home in autumn and winter, 
he might often be seen with a hatchet and saw, 
cutting wood, which he distributed among the 
peasants for building purposes, or to orphans and 
other needy ones for firewood. Tolstoy's life was, 
indeed, full of many and varied activities. 

Sometimes he had to pay dearly for his zeal, 
and his want of care for himself whilst at work 
with the peasants. In 1866, for instance, during 
hay-making, he hurt his knee when climbing into 

■ 

a cart. When the worst pain had subsided he 
paid no further attention to the hurt. After 
























io6 






THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 






a few days, inflammation set in and, later, a 
wound appeared which began to involve the bone. 
Tolstoy was obliged to keep his bed for a whole 
month, after undergoing a serious surgical operation 
which had become necessary in order to prevent 

blood-poisoning. 

He bore his illness patiently, though before 
the danger was over he told his visitors, simply 
and seriously, that he might die from his wound, 
and rejoiced that his illness allowed him a few 
leisure hours for thoughts of life and death. Dur- 
ing his convalescence — and for a very long time 
Tolstoy could not go out — he conceived the idea 
of writing a popular drama, and the same autumn 
he wrote The Power of Darkness. What befell the 

happen in Russia. Authorised 



piece 



could 




mi 



by the censor for publication, with a few ( 
sions, the drama was staged at the Imperial 



Theatre 



When 



everything was prepared, the re- 
hearsals concluded, the costumes and scenery 
ready, the Government prohibited the play in all 
theatres. Only after many years was the authori- 
sation given for representation. 







































/ 






i 













































1 


















< 

































J 



















































, 


































- 









" 















r 






/ 

















































■ 








■ 






• 























, 






CHAPTER XII 






THE SPREAD OP TOLSTOY'S INFLUENCE 



The new religio-philosophic works of Tolstoy were 
prohibited in Russia, but they continued to spread. 
In his native land they were circulated either by 
hand-written copies or in lithographed or hecto- 
graphed form, but they were printed in Russian 
beyond the frontier — in Geneva, London, and 
Berlin — where also translations appeared. The 
French translation of Tolstoy's most important 
work, " What is My Faith ? " was carried out 
by his friend Prince Leonide Urusoff, who sincerely 
sympathised with the views expressed in that 



work. A somewhat shortened English translation 
was published by V. G. TchertkofE, together with 
" Confession " and a short exposition of the 
Gospels. Shortly after, the same works appeared 
in Germany. These translations acquainted the 
western world with Tolstoy's new views, and they 
undoubtedly popularised him much more than his 
novels, which, though appreciated, often were not 
fully understood by western readers, owing in 

great part to difficulties of translation. 

109 





















♦ 






no 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 



Simultaneously with the wider dissemination 
of Tolstoy's works, there began to pour into Yas- 
naya Polyana books and manuscripts from people 
more or less in sympathy with his views. Later, 
visitors from countries far and near made pilgrim- 
age to his home, and Tolstoy began to be the centre 
of a definite and widespread phase of spiritual life. 

One of the first of these new acquaintances was 

a sectarian, Sutaieff, to whom earlier reference 
has been made. He was a typical Russian reli- 
gious personality. Basing his views on the Gospel, 

* 

he preached personal life in harmony with the 
inner voice of conscience, and communism and 
brotherhood in social life. Tolstoy visited Sutaieff 
in his village, Shavelino, in the Tver province, 
and Sutaieff paid a return visit to Tolstoy in 
Moscow. Afterwards they met once more in 
Yasnaya Polyana. Each meeting with Sutaieff 

accentuated the favourable impression he had 
made upon Tolstoy. During Sutaieff's stay in 
Moscow, according to Tolstoy's own words, he 
greatly helped the latter to elucidate his ideas 
upon charity. Sutaieff startled Tolstoy by his 
daring thought : his project to abolish poverty 
to distribute the poor among the well-to-do people 
in order that together they might lead useful, 
productive lives. 










.2 

o 







.5 

CO 

O 

X 

CD 




H 


















< 















SPREAD OF TOLSTOY'S INFLUENCE hi 

Another remarkable man who produced a great 
impression upon Tolstoy was also a self-taught 
sectarian — the peasant Timothy Bondaref. De- 
ported to Siberia together with his peasant co- 
religionists, for spreading the teachings of the 
Sabbatarians, they settled near Minusinsk, the 
southern part of Central Siberia, where they 
formed a community. Bondaref's mind was especi- 
ally occupied with the question of the causes of 
social inequality. His arguments were very original, 
and based on the Bible. The first commandment 
given by God to man, said he, was " In the sweat 
of thy face shalt thou eat bread " ; to woman, 
" In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children." The 
majority of women up to to-day have obeyed the 
latter commandment — even the Empress " brings 
forth children in sorrow " — because one cannot buy 



a child : it would always be another's. But the 
men try by every means to avoid the command- 
ment laid upon them ; the educated classes do not 
earn their bread in the sweat of their face, but 

_ v 

buy the bread of others. Hence the evil caused 
by the privileged classes : the sloth, luxury, and 
immorality on the one side, and poverty, ignor- 




ance, and wretchedness on the other. No preach- 
ing of love will remedy this evil. The command- 



ment of love came later, and people are trying to 















ii2 THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 






shield themselves under it. Unless the command- 

■ 

ment of work is fulfilled, that of love cannot be 
carried out, and all preaching of love without 
labour appears hypocrisy. 

All these ideas were developed by Bondaref 
in his book, " Diligence, or the Triumph of Agri- 
culturists," the manuscript of which was sent to 
Tolstoy. Finding that Bondaref had many views 
in common with himself, Tolstoy exchanged with 
him several friendly letters. He decided to pub- 
lish Bondaref s work, which was written in a 



powerful, original style. He corrected it, and 
wrote an introduction. At first the censor pro- 
hibited the publication, but now the book is 
issued by the Posrednik. 

Tolstoy's views began to penetrate into Russian 
intellectual circles. After the assassination of 
Alexander II. the number of young people with 
revolutionary tendencies considerably diminished. 
Ideals and projects for a reconstruction of society 
were sought in another direction, and the new 
thoughts of Tolstoy were much more sympathetic 
with the state of mind of those young people. 
Amongst them began to develop a serious moral 
and religious movement combined with the desire 
for radical political reforms. Owing to this move- 
ment, several agricultural colonies of intellectual 




























SPREAD OF TOLSTOY'S INFLUENGE 113 

* 

people were started ; also many persons from the 
middle classes and nobility went to live among 
the workers ; others refused to take the oath or 
to fulfil their military duties. One of the first 
cases was the refusal, in 1886, of Alexis Zabu- 






lovsky to serve as a soldier. He was condemned 
to two years in the disciplinary battalion at 
Askhabad in Central Asia, where he suffered 
greatly, especially during the long marches to his 
destination. Afterwards the refusals became more 
and more frequent, in Russia as well as in foreign 
countries, and nowadays they occur at every 

recruiting season. 

The spread of Tolstoy's works in western 

and America also led to communications 
from and correspondence with societies accepting 
Christianity in the same spirit as himself ; that is 

t 

to say, condemning violence whether by the indi- 
vidual or by the State. From England the first 




response came from the Quakers ; from America 
the Shakers, and members of non-resistance socie- 
ties formed by Harrison and Ball ; from Austria 
wrote a sect of Nazarenes, the members of which 
regularly refuse military service and are im- 
prisoned in consequence. As to the Russian 
Dukhobors, we shall speak of them later. 

In 1885, Tolstoy was visited by a Russian emi- 

1 










































ii4 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 










grant who had been living a long time in America 
William Frey, a follower of Auguste Comte, 



and 



an 



exponent 



of 






Comte's " Religion of 



Humanity." Notwithstanding some eccentricity 
in his teaching, his charming personality made a 



deep 



and sympathetic impression on Tolstoy. 



Frey tried 



to 



induce Tolstoy to promulgate 



Comte's doctrine and, although he did not suc- 
ceed, he gained Tolstoy's personal sympathy and 

deep love. 

Just at this period Tolstoy studied Henry 
George's theory of land nationalisation and single 
tax. He adopted it whole-heartedly. As is known, 
this theory consists in the abolition of all taxes 
except one, namely a tax on the land, and that 
in proportion to its rent. By this means, it was 
argued, the nationalisation of the land would be 

* 

accomplished, and large properties in land would 

be abolished without any violence or expropria- 

Henry George developed his ideas in many 
works, the majority of which are translated into 

Russian. 

In 1887 George Kennan, the well-known tra- 
veller in Siberia, went to see Tolstoy, but they 
could not agree in their views. Kennan found non- 
resistance to violence, especially in self-defence, 
absurd, and notwithstanding Tolstoy's great esteem 



tion. 






SPREAD OF TOLSTOY'S INFLUENCE 115 

- 

for Kennan because of his denunciation of the 
horrors of Eussian prisons and deportation to 
Siberia, he was far from satisfied with the visit. 

I 

Quite the contrary was the case in the visit 
of Professor Massarik, a Czech and a doctor of 

■ 

philosophy, who left a very pleasant impression 
by his simplicity and clear understanding of high, 
spiritual problems. But the visit of Deroulede, 
the well-known French patriot, was not fruitful 
of mutual understanding. His hatred of Ger- 
many, and his hope of revenge, brought him to 
Russia with the view of arousing public opinion 
there against Germany and of inducing Russia to 
declare war against her neighbour, so that the latter 
might be attacked from two sides. He therefore 
appealed to Tolstoy as being a leader of public 
opinion. Tolstoy, in a humorous sketch, described 
the efforts of Deroulede to explain to the peasants 
of Yasnaya Polyana how Germany was to be 
squeezed from two sides, and how the peasants 
replied that it would be better to invite the 
Germans to work beside them. Deroulede's mis- 



. 



sion proved a failure. 

Tolstoy's ideas began to penetrate amongst the 
peasantry and working classes chiefly owing to 
the publications of the Posrednik. In 1887 he 
received a copy of a catechism from the south 





















n6 THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 



t I* 



/» V 



•s r . 7 



Russian Stundis' community, in which the texts 
of the gospels had been quoted from Tolstoy's 
edition, and the whole catechism was in accord- 
ance with his conception of Christianity. Thus 
the light he had kindled began to shine over a 
world thirsting for love and truth. 

Towards the end of the 'eighties, the bitterness 
of Tolstoy's relations with his family and sur- 
roundings, and especially with his former aristo- 
cratic friends, gradually lessened, and his spirit- 
ual life began to be serene and tranquil. On 
October 5th, 1887, he celebrated his silver wedding 
in the seclusion of his family circle. 

His works were always highly appreciated 
by the best of the Russian painters. As early 
as 1873, Kramskoy had painted his portrait, 
which may be considered the best for its resem- 
blance and expression. In 1882, the radical 
painter, N. Gay, first visited Tolstoy and became 
his friend and follower. This passionate, impres- 
sionable, and at the same time kind and ingenuous, 
man was whole-heartedly attached to the great 
Russian reformer, and remained so till his death. 
He often stayed at the latter's house, and Tolstoy 
in his turn frequently visited Gay on his small 
estate in the Chernigov province ; besides which 
they maintained a steady correspondence. In 1884 
























SPREAD OF TOLSTOY'S INFLUENCE 117 

Gay painted Tolstoy sitting at his writing-table. 
Though his eyes are not visible, the whole figure 
is so characteristic, and so lovingly and strikingly 
rendered, that this portrait became very dear to 
Tolstoy's friends. 

In 1887, Russia's greatest painter, Eliah Repin, 
came to Yasnaya Polyana. His picture — Tolstoy 
ploughing — is wonderful for its deep meaning. 
Besides the technical and artistic value, it is an 
emblem of the union of the greatest Russian genius 
with the Russian people and land. This picture is 
v now one of the most popular in lithographic and 
photographic copies and post cards ; it is, for 
Russia, one of the epoch-making pictures. The 
best Russian sculptors also, such as Trubetskoy, 
Ginsburg, and Aronson, have immortalised Tolstoy 
in their works. 

During Tolstoy's conversation with his numer- 
ous visitors on the new conception of Christianity, 
and on the consequent change in the relation of 
man to man, he observed that his words were not 
always convincing to his visitors, chiefly because 
they differed on the very fundamental principles 
of life. This led Tolstoy to a systematic explana- 
tion of his philosophy in a book called " On Life," 
published towards the end of the 'eighties. 































































CHAPTER XIII 



FURTHER LITERARY AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES 



In his book " On Life," Tolstoy defines the condi- 
tions under which a man's regeneration to a new 
life begins. Every conscious man must observe 
that in his endeavour to acquire personal happi- 
ness he finds himself in direct conflict with those 

■ 

around him, who are also struggling for happi- 
ness, and this strife 



gives 



him no rest — even 



poisons his efforts for well-being. Besides, if man 
succeeds in snatching a particle of happiness, it 
ceases very soon to satisfy him, because he under- 
stands its illusory character. The more he experi- 
ences the satisfaction of reaching personal well- 
being, the more he recognises its ephemeral cha- 
racter, and this conclusion does not allow him 
to enjoy happiness when obtained. And, further, 
however stable and complete the material well- 
being may appear, a conscious man cannot help 
seeing death ready at any moment to devour 
him and thus destroy all his illusion of 
happiness. 

us 




\ 












' 









LITERARY AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES 119 

There is no way out of it. Life becomes para- 
lysed, and what remains — the inertia of life — may 
suffice only to make an end of this absurd con- 
tradiction of life. 

There is only one way of salvation — to re- 
nounce material pleasures, to be re-born, and to 
adopt love as the principle of life. Love — not in 
the sense of a physical preference for one over 
another, but a love which has as its dominating 
impulse the welfare of others and loving service 
to them rather than making one's own personal 
happiness the chief end. Such love solves all con- 
tradictions of life. Love ends the struggle, and 
replaces it by mutual concessions and brotherly 
assistance. Love's realm is unlimited and with- 






out disillusion and satiety, because moral happi- 
ness is independent of our physical personality. 
Love does not fear death, because the aim of love, 
service to others, is immortal and cannot be 
interrupted by one of the disciples falling out of 
the ranks. Love, by its substance, unites man to 
eternity. 

This idea is developed by Tolstoy with a deep, 



psychological analysis, and, demonstrating the 
groundlessness of the fear of death, he concludes 
by saying : 

" What man needs is given to him — life which 





































• 














120 


THE LIFE O 


F TOLSTOY 


















■ 



cannot be death, and happiness which cannot be 
evil." 

Eussian censorship found this work harmful 
also, and the first edition was burnt. But now it 
is freely sold, in complete and in abridged editions. 

At that time Tolstoy turned his attention to 
human excesses, such as smoking, drunkenness, 
the eating of meat, and sexual intemperance. On 
these questions he wrote a series of articles. Smok- 
ing and drinking he dealt with in " Why do Men 
Intoxicate Themselves ? " It appeared as the in- 
troduction to the book by Dr. Alexeef. Tolstoy 
explained vegetarianism in an article entitled 
The First Step," also written as an introduc- 



es 



•» 



tion to a book 



u 



The Ethics of Food 



5? 




trans - 



In 



lated into Eussian under his supervision, 
addition, he wrote short, popular articles on the 



same theme, and even 




sion. 



it an artistic expres- 
He also organised a temperance society. 
Persons desiring to enter this society were asked 

to sign the following form : 

" Eecognising the great evil and sin of drunken- 
ness, I, the undersigned, decide never to drink any 

alcohol, vodka, wine, or beer ; not to buy or 

will 

and 



offer it to others ; with all my strength 

others, especially young people 




convince 



children, of the evils of drunkenness and the 



* 
























LITERARY AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES 121 




advantages of a sober life ; and I will gain mem- 
bers for our society. We beg all agreeing with us 
to keep this form, to write down on it the names 
of new members, and to communicate with us. 

any intend to give up this pledge, we beg him 
to communicate with us." 

These forms were distributed promptly and 
covered with signatures, and towards the end of 
the first year there were over a thousand members. 
It is understood that Tolstoy himself was the first 
to set the example. He gave up smoking, and 
neither meat nor wine appeared again on his table. 

Especially, however, he devoted his pen to the 
fight against sexual excess. This question, in its 







general aspect, he had touched already in his 
drama, " The Power of Darkness," in which crime is 
committed by a man not evil by nature, but who 
has become entangled in an illicit alliance. With 
special vigour he drew in " The Kreutzer Sonata " 
a picture of the dreadful consequences of such 
sinful relations. He presents to his readers three 
stages in those relations. The first is the full 
submission of woman to man, in whose sensual 
power she is, and who exacts from her absolute 
chastity ; the second is the antithesis of the first 
a liberal recognition of the equal rights of woman 
in sin ; and the third is the semi-patriarchal res- 

















































122 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 



pectability which is the hypocritical family morality 
practised by the majority of married persons in 
the middle and upper classes, and at the bottom 
of which lies, not spiritual union between man 
and woman, but crude sensuality in the guise of 
conventionality. This sensuality begins to mani- 
fest itself in youth, and poisons the purity of the 
relations between man and woman. Hence j ealousy, 
unfaithfulness, and often tragedies. There is only 
one way of salvation — absolute chastity, and " let 
him who can practise it, do so." The most a Chris- 
tian ought to permit himself is monogamy. The 
artistic form of this story, the dialogue, and the 
first person being employed throughout, misled 
not a few readers into the belief that it was an 






autobiography. 



Needless 



to say 



9 



this belief is 



absolutely unjustifiable. 

At the end of 1889, Tolstoy finished his comedy, 
which at first he had called " Too Cunning," but re - 
christened " The Fruits of Enlightenment." In this 
comedy he again ridiculed the indolence of Russian 
high society and the would-be scientific solemnity 
with which they treat trivial affairs. The last 

- 

touches to the comedy were given by Tolstoy at 
the request of his daughter, who wanted the piece 






for a performance at home, in Yasnaya Polyana. 
Tolstoy took great interest in the work, assisted 























LITERARY AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES 123 

at the rehearsals, and gave his advice to the actors. 
When he was alone, however, he felt depressed 
by the extravagance and futility accompanying 
those preparations. The whole house was topsy- 
turvy with the great number of guests, the per- 
formance, and the entertainment of the young 
people. He wrote in his diary at that time : 

am ashamed of all these expenses in the 

midst of poverty." 

The painter Gay, more and more carried away 
by Tolstoy's conception of Christianity, sought 
to express it in pictures. The first of these was 
"Christ and Pilate," with the motto, "What 
is truth ? " In this picture, very highly appre- 
ciated by Tolstoy, the idea was expressed that 
Pilate's words " What is truth ? " were not a 
question directly addressed to Christ, but an 
ironical observation of Pilate's implying that it is not 
worth while to speak the truth as Christ preached 
it. Indeed, looking at the figure of the well-fed 
Roman patrician, and then on that of Christ, 
exhausted by a whole night of torture, his feverish, 
brilliant eyes full of thought, it becomes clear that 
for Christ truth is everything, for Pilate nothing. 

So Tolstoy's days were passed. But the dark 
years of threatening famine were approaching to 
call forth his practical activity. 




* 




























































' 



















































CHAPTER XIV 






THE YEARS OF FAMINE 



* 

In the summer of 1891 a complete failure of the 
spring, as well as the winter, corn was experi- 
enced throughout nearly half the area of Russia. 
Towards the end of the summer alarming rumours 
of a coming famine had already begun to spread. 

As he had done eighteen years earlier, Tolstoy 
took the initiative in giving assistance to the 
starving peasantry. In the autumn he visited 
many districts of the Tula province, and with 
anxiety observed the empty cornfields of the 
peasants. It was evident to him that the popula- 
tion would be unable to feed itself till the next 
harvest without outside help. Hostile to any 
complicated artificial . system, Tolstoy decided to 
begin at once to help personally, without any 
organised plan for the future. 

In the beginning of November, he, two of his 
daughters, and a niece, and having only £50 with 















them, went to the estate of a friend, J. Raevsky, 
in the Ryazan province, and there established 



124 













































THE YEARS OF FAMINE 125 

themselves with the purpose, as he wrote, " to 

x 

do what God orders — to feed, and distribute 
whatever there is." The place was one of the 
worst in the famine region. After a week he 
wrote : 

" Everybody is busy at some good work 
soup kitchens for the poorest. The girls have 
opened a school, and they try to help everybody 



in all ways. I am delighted with them. The 
time is critical ; the conditions are strained and 
dangerous." 

Thus modestly Tolstoy started to give assist- 
ance with his family, but rumours about his work 
soon spread. Besides the material aid, he pub- 
lished an article, " How to Help the Starving 
Population," in which he showed the inefficiency 
of the Government's method of distributing flour 

■ 

and grain among the poor. He set out the needs 
of the situation in the following way : 

" Help to the starving population can be two- 
fold : first by the upkeep of the peasants' home- 
steads ; second, by saving them from the danger 

of illness and even death by the lack, or bad 
quality, of food." 

He drew the following conclusions as to the 
best means of satisfying these two needs : 

"In order to prevent the partial or total ruin 










































126 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 












of the peasants' homes, I believe there is only one 
remedy — to start public 




"For the second purpose — to save the starv- 
ing from illness caused by the lack, or bad quality, 



of food — there is 



9 



in my opinion, 



one effectual 



means 



: the creation in each village of a soup 
kitchen where each hungry person can be fed." 

This dual purpose kept Tolstoy active. His 
work in connection with the famine soon began to 
be known, not only in Russia, but also in foreign 
countries. His wife wrote an appeal for help, 
pointing out that Tolstoy was already living and 
working among the starving peasants. Donations 
began to come in, and the means at the disposal 
of Tolstoy rapidly increased, and, consequently, 
enlarged his work. Towards the end of 1891 he 






had started as many as 72 soup kitchens, and placed 



them under numerous helpers of both 




In 



the following April he reported 187 soup kitchens, 
246 in July, and the number of persons fed as 
13,000. Besides this, he organised 124 " children's 
homes," where 3,000 small children were fed with 






milk porridge. Firewood, as well as food, was 
distributed, and fodder for the cattle and horses. 
Flax and bark were given out to make work for 
the peasants, and in the spring various seeds, 
such as oats, potatoes, hemp, and millet. Horses 



- 
















The Death-Mask of Tolstoy 













































' 






) 















THE YEARS OF FAMINE 127 

were bought and distributed among such peasants 
as bad lost theirs. Bread was baked, and sold at 
a low price. In addition, incidental help was 
given in repairing and building peasants' huts, 
assistance in burials, gifts of books, etc. All these 
tasks were carried out under the direct supervision 
of Tolstoy in four districts of the two neighbour- 
ing provinces, Ryazan and Tula. 

Tolstoy's example was soon followed, and in all 
the famine provinces numerous organisations were 
formed. In the Samara province, in two districts, 
Tolstoy's son Leo was engaged in the same work, 
for which part of the donations received by his 
father was sent to him. The following winter 
1892-3 — was no less severe, and aid to the 
people was continued ; but this time Tolstoy him- 
self was not present, and the work was carried 
on with less energy. He published reports period- 
ically, and they were highly instructive docu- 
ments. 

During his activity as organiser, he occupied 
himself with a literary work of some magnitude 
" The Kingdom of God Is Within You ; or, Chris- 
tianity Not as a Mystical Teaching, but as a New 
Conception of Life." In this work, as in " What 
is My Faith ? " published ten years before, 
Tolstoy, with great power, develops his concep- 















i28 THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 



tion of Christianity, sharply criticises contem- 
porary pagan ethics, shows the crying contra- 
diction in which people are living who do not 






believe in Christ, and in conclusion indicates the 
way out of the difficulty. 

As usual, the book was prohibited by the 
censor, and was circulated by hand-written, litho- 
graph and hectograph copies, or in foreign edi- 
tions. Soon it was translated into most of the 
European languages. Amongst other matters, 
Tolstoy deals in the work with the contemporary 
State and its organisation, which he severely 
condemns. For his condemnation of the State he 
was called an Anarchist, and, with a few reserva- 
tions, this may be admitted as just. But his 
anarchism, which denies the enforced organisa- 
tion of power, is based on the understanding that 
man, spiritually regenerated and imbued with 
Christian teaching, has in himself the unalterable 
divine law of truth and love, which has no need 
to be strengthened by human laws. Consequently 
Tolstoy's anarchism does not lead to disorder 
and licence, but to the highest moral order and 

perfect life. 

This important work was followed by some 
smaller ones, such as " Christianity and Pat- 
riotism," in which, from a Christian point of view, 




























THE YEARS OF FAMINE 129 

he considers the tragi-comedy of the Franco- 
Russian Alliance. This he followed up by " Non- 
activity," which he wrote a propos of Zola's and 
Dumas' letters, the former of whom preached work 
without giving any conception of life or the aim 
of work, and the latter the necessity for a religious 
conception of the ideals of brotherhood and love 
amongst all men. Tolstoy points out that work 
itself cannot be an aim — that it is only an obliga- 



tory, unavoidable condition of life. If man has 
no true conception of the meaning of life, does 
not know where to go and what to do, it would be 
better for him to be in a state of non-activity and 
to think over his life and find its meaning ; then, 
whatever work he undertakes will become pro- 
ductive and sacred. 

At the same time Tolstoy was translating 
Guy de Maupassant, Bernardin de St. Pierre, 
Amiel, Mazzini, and other authors, for the publica- 
tions of the Posrednik. In 1895 " Master and 
Servant ' ' appeared, in which, in an original way, 
but in a truly Christian spirit, the question of 
the relation between masters and men is solved. 

I 

In order to help and to save his worker, the 
master must sacrifice his own life ; the worker 
spends his whole existence for his master, and 
consequently justice and equality can only be 



j 




































130 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 









restored if the master be willing to give his life 

for his man. 

In the same year Tolstoy took part in a 
great historical event : the breaking out with 
new force of the Dukhobor movement in the 
Caucasus. 


































CHAPTER XV 






THE DUKHOBOR MOVEMENT 



During the night of July 10th, 1895, at three 
different places in Trans-Caucasia, the Dukhobors 
piled up their arms, poured oil upon them, and 
then burned them amid the singing of psalms. 
When we Tolstoyan3 learned the motives of this 
remarkable act, we were struck by the spiritual 
affinity between us and the leaders of the Duk- 
hobor movement. This affinity led the authorities, 
as well as independent investigators, to ascribe the 
Dukhobor movement to the propagation amongst 
them of Tolstoy's ideas. In reality, the Dukhobor 
movement was much more complicated. The 
Dukhobor teaching had existed for over a century, 
and its main principles — condemnation of violence, 
of taking life, and of all church ritual — came very 
near to Tolstoy's conception of Christianity. The 
positive side of their teaching — productive com- 
munities, brotherhood, and solidarity — is certainly 
very similar to that of Tolstoy. Therefore the 
Dukhobor leaders, although but slightly acquainted 

131 
























i32 THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 






with his works, were delighted, and recognised in 
him a great spiritual authority. Certainly, by this 
affinity and his genius, Tolstoy, even against his 
will, became a leader of the movement. In sym- 
pathy with their true Christian conduct, their 
humble, patient endurance of hardships and tor- 
tures at the hands of the military authorities, their 
gentle answers to their persecutors, their habit of 






mutual aid, Tolstoy tried in every way to assist 
them — morally and materially. He used his influ- 
ence in high quarters ; he urged his friends to do 
the same, and to give personal help to these poor 
sufferers when expelled from their homes and dis- 
tributed among the villages of the non-Russian 
mountain population. He forwarded to them 
donations which he had received on their behalf, 
and his letters to them were in the most touching 
and kindly terms. When the condition of the 
exiled Dukhobors began to be very critical, some 
of their friends addressed an appeal to the Russian 
public in order to put an end to the terrible perse- 
cution by the Government. Tolstoy joined in the ap- 
peal, and wrote a strong and powerful afterword to 
it. The signatories to the document, as well as 
some of those who had helped the Dukhobors, were 
exiled to the Baltic provinces, and others were 
banished to foreign countries. The weight of the 




























THE DUKHOBOR MOVEMENT i33 







whole organisation of assistance and protection then 
fell upon Tolstoy's shoulders. At last the per- 
mission of the Government was obtained for the 
Dukhobors to emigrate. They began their pre- 
parations, but, ruined as they were, and dispersed 
in exile, they had no means to make a start or 
to charter a steamer to carry them to Canada, 
where the authorities had promised them land, 
large sum of money was needed, and to collect it 

* 

in Eussia was extremely difficult. Then Tolstoy 
came to the rescue. He put the finishing touches 
to a novel begun long before, and offered it to the 
well-known publisher, Marx, on condition that all 
author's fees should be devoted to Dukhobor 
emigration. In response to an appeal to the 
English Quakers for help, and to other friends of 
the Dukhobors, further funds were collected, 
and the emigration took place. In this way 

■ 

Tolstoy's magnanimous aid to the Dukhobors gave 
the whole intellectual world the moral benefit of 
his great novel, " Resurrection." 

It is not necessary to dwell on the contents of 
this well-known work, but only to point out that 
the fall and regeneration of a human soul are 
depicted in it with the deepest insight and utmost 
veracity. Throughout the novel the State, the 
Church, and the existing social order are criticised, 







































134 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 






as well as human relations. 




to this critical 



side the novel was never published in full in Russia. 
The complete text was brought out in England by 
Tchertkoff who, owing to the Dukhobor move- 
ment, was banished from Russia. He started 



The Free Age Press " publications in England, 
and for eight years issued all the first editions of 
Tolstoy's work of that period. 

The connection between Tolstoy and the Duk- 
hobors was maintained, and they regularly informed 
him as to the condition of their life in their com- 
munities. 

The Dukhobor movement had a world-wide 
importance, and Tolstoy's participation in it raised 
it yet higher in public estimation. News of it was 
published in all civilised countries, and the example 
of Christian self-denial found imitators in France, 



England, Holland, Germany, 



and 



Switzerland, 



where more or less numerous groups were formed 
with the aim of realising in life the true teachings 
of Jesus. In many countries military service was 
refused, in spite of severe punishment. Commu- 
nities were organised and agricultural colonies were 
started ; a series of periodicals was published 
devoted to the investigation of Christian questions ; 
and the vegetarian movement also increased. 

At that time Tolstoy wrote quite a number of 


















THE DUKHOBOR MOVEMENT 135 

articles, of which mention shall be made only of the 
more important. The first to be noted was an 
essay, " What is Art ? " in which he severely 
examined contemporary art, and gave the basis for 
a new Christian art, accessible to the people, sin- 
cere, serious in subject, and, if possible, perfect in 
technique. He allowed " The Free Age Press " to 

t 

publish his unfinished "Christian Teaching." 
Another ' series dealt with contemporary problems 
of Russian and foreign life. 



































































































* 









/ 



CHAPTER XVI 



EXCOMMUNICATION AND ILLNESS 



Towards the end of the century, Tolstoy's influ- 
ence was universally recognised. In Russia, people 



of all classes — especially those whose consciences 






were awakened and who were dissatisfied with the 
existing ways of living — began to pay deep atten- 
tion to his words, and addressed themselves to 

him for help and encouragement in their initial 
efforts. 

In order to paralyse Tolstoy's influence, the 
Russian State Church decided to take measures 
against him. On March 5th, 1901, the Holy Synod 
issued a ukase excommunicating Tolstoy from the 
Greek Orthodox Church on account of his false 
doctrines and un-repentance. This involved de- 
privation of the protection of the Church, its 

prayers, and burial in conformity with Orthodox 
rites. 

The excommunication provoked quite unex- 
pected results. On the day of the promulgation 

of the ukase in Moscow, serious disorders took place 

136 



























EXCOMMUNICATION AND ILLNESS 137 

amongst the students, who were joined by the 
workers. Excited crowds paraded the main streets 
and squares. Tolstoy had gone for his usual daily 
walk and, crossing the square near the Kremlin, 
he was recognised by the crowd, surrounded, 
acclaimed, and treated with the greatest mani- 
festations of respect and sympathy. With diffi- 
culty he succeeded in freeing himself and driving 
home. There, already, deputations were awaiting 
him, and greetings and manifestations continued 
the whole day. Flowers, presents, and expressions 
of sympathy poured in from all sides and, as 
Tolstoy himself said, he was feted as if it were his 
birthday. These tokens of feeling grew as the news 
of the ukase gradually spread to more distant parts 
of the country. 

. ■ 

To the ukase Tolstoy replied by a short but 
powerful exposition of his conception of Christianity. 
In this document he made the remarkable state- 
ment that not only did he not wish to consider 
himself a member of the Greek Orthodox Church, 
but he also even hesitated to call himself a 
Christian, as this term might obscure truth, dear 



■ 



to him above all. From truth, he said, no existing 
power could excommunicate him. 

It was soon after this epoch-marking incident 
in his life that Tolstoy fell dangerously ill. When he 






























138 THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 









began to recover, his family decided that he should 
spend the winter in the south, and on the doctor's 
advice the whole family removed, in September, 
1901, to the Crimea, and settled at Gaspra, in the 
villa which Countess Panin had kindly put at 
Tolstoy's disposal. At every halting-place on the 
journey, especially at KharkorT, crowds of people 
enthusiastically greeted the venerable teacher. 

At the beginning of his stay in the Crimea, 
under the influence of the mild and warm climate, 
he began to recover rapidly. But later he fell ill 
with typhus and inflammation of the lungs. These 
illnesses weakened him terribly, and there were 
times when his family expected a fatal end ; but 
Tolstoy's strong constitution asserted itself, and he 
was soon able to resume his work. 

During his convalescence he wrote an article 
in the form of a letter, " To the Tsar and his Asso- 
ciates," in which he described the wretched con- 
dition of the Russian people, and suggested a series 
of reforms which were partially initiated by the 
Manifesto of November 1st, 1905. He wrote also 
a number of addresses to people of different pro- 
fessions, working people, clergy, politicians, soldiers, 
officers, and another letter to the Tsar. In all 
these appeals he tried to show the right way of 
living, according to Christ's teaching. 




































EXCOMMUNICATION AND ILLNESS 139 

During his long illness, when he felt himself 
near the portals of eternity, hours of quiet thought 
raised and purified his soul. In a letter to the 
present biographer he wrote : 

" I must say one thing : my illness was a great 
help to me. Much that was foolish left me when I 
placed myself sincerely face to face with God, or 
the All of which I am but a transient particle, 
saw much evil in myself, which formerly I did not 

observe. I felt much relieved afterwards. Gener- 




ally one should say to one's beloved, * I do not wish 
you health, but illness.' " 

In the autumn of 1902 he returned to Yasnaya 
Polyana, where he speedily recovered his health and 
former energy. 

On the outbreak of the Eusso -Japanese war, 
he shared the general grief and moral suffering of 
the best part of the Eussian people, and with 
indignation in his heart he issued his severe 
"Bethink Yourselves." But life follows its own 
unknown laws, and we submit to accomplished 
facts. The Japanese war came to an end, but the 
physical and moral tension which it had provoked 
broke loose in a popular agitation. 

True to his conviction that the principal object 
for man is the understanding of the aim of life, 
Tolstoy continued his work and published a col- 


















; 



i4o THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 

lection of thoughts and aphorisms of the great 
thinkers of the world. In this collection were 
brought together for the first time in the Russian 
language the ideas of the leading thinkers of 
humanity : Christ, Socrates, Rousseau, Pascal, 

■ 

Buddha, Lao-tsze, and many others. 

The wave of social and political agitation grew 
apace, and caught in its vortex ever larger and 
larger masses of the people. At last came the fatal 
January 21st, 1905, with Gapon's demonstration 
and its sanguinary suppression. All Russia was 
shaken by the volleys in the streets of St. Peters- 
burg. The whole nation was aroused ; new political 
parties sprang up ; strikes took place, as well as 
armed risings, expropriations, agrarian disorders, 
and brigandage. The Imperial Manifesto of Nov- 
ember 1st was followed by pogroms, the first Duma, 
then the Vyborg appeal, and afterwards deporta- 
tions, imprisonment, exceptional laws, and execu- 
tions. 

It was difficult at that time to find one's bear- 
ings, and to avoid j oining one or other of the strug- 
gling parties. But Tolstoy was true to himself. 
He had to bear reproaches, threats, and abuse from 
all sides, and people carried away by politics 
temporarily fell away from him, as he could not 
share their opinions or those of any political party. 































s 

O 

H 

09 

o 



C0 




EXCOMMUNICATION AND ILLNESS 141 

Pure and hard as a crystal, he wrote to all those 
people at strife and enmity among themselves, 

■ 

gently reproaching them, and pointing out the only 
way of salvation — submission to the will of the 
Father of Life, and an existence based on reason 
and love. 











































































t 






CHAPTER XVII 



THE JUBILEE OF 1908 



Tolstoy's fame was now spread all over the 
civilised world. Telegrams from America asked 
his opinion on the Eussian political movement. 
Connections were established with Australia, India, 
Japan, China, and the Mohammedan world. All 
these varied nationalities, with different languages, 
customs, and religions, recognised in him a teacher 
of mankind. In answer, as it were, to this general 
recognition, Tolstoy began a work which undoubt- 
edly will lay the foundation of a universal religion. 
He enlarged his collection of thoughts and aphor- 
isms of wise men, and instead of a few quotations 
for each day he gave systematic tracts on all the 
fundamental questions of religion, wisdom, and 
morality, and entitled the work " 







Cycle of 
Heading," for which he wrote some new tales and 

* 

finished former ones, such as " The Divine and the 



Human, 



)* 



CC 



Berries, 



5> 



<C 




Prayer," 



cc 



Why? 



? 



5) 



a 



etc. 



Korney Vasilyef," 

Immediately after the issue of the first edition, 

142 















THE JUBILEE OF 1908 143 

Tolstoy began to revise the book, simplifying, 
explaining, and rearranging tlie order of the 
thoughts of the sages of mankind. Simultaneously 
he wrote a number of articles, and in one of the 
longest he dethroned Shakespeare. In another 
he explained for children the teaching of the New 
Testament, and with fresh energy he wrote on 
Single Tax, and a new essay, " The Law of 
Violence and the Law of Love." 

The endless executions of late years were at 
this time weighing on the Russian people like a 
nightmare. Tolstoy could no longer witness the 







suffering, and his bitter cry of protest, " I Cannot 
be Silent," resounded through the world. 

So Tolstoy reached his fourscore years. The 
Russian nation was preparing to celebrate the 
anniversary of the birth of their beloved " Grand 

Old Man," but the day of rejoicing was darkened 
by the attitude of the Government. Long before 
the date, articles in the reactionary Press appeared 

denouncing the honouring of a wicked heretic. 
Fanatic priests delivered grossly insulting sermons, 
profaning the very walls of the churches by their 
vulgar abuse. The Government sent circulars to 
the local authorities prohibiting the celebration 
of Tolstoy's anniversary as that of a teacher of 
morality. Permission alone was given to speak of 
























144 THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 

him as a literary man. In many places the author- 
ities understood the circular in the sense that it was 






preferable not to speak at all, and in some towns 
on the day of the jubilee not a single word on 
Tolstoy was spoken publicly. 

Nevertheless, public feeling could not be quite 
suppressed. Many Eussian and even foreign papers 
contained on the day articles about Tolstoy, 
reminiscences, portraits, and sketches. Yasnaya 
Polyana was overwhelmed with congratulations, 
gifts, and deputations. The telegrams alone num- 
bered over two thousand. All over Russia, where 
it was possible, and in many places abroad, soirees, 
meetings, theatrical representations, were held in 
honour of Tolstoy. It was clear that the whole of 
enlightened Russia was unanimous in the expression 
of admiration for the venerated old man who for 
so many years had been the conscience of humanity. 

In St. Petersburg a committee had been formed 
for Tolstoy's jubilee. But Tolstoy had expressed 
the wish that the day should be as quiet as possible, 
and the committee transformed itself into a society 
for the foundation of a Tolstoy Museum. This 
society, in the spring of 1 909, organised an interest- 
ing Tolstoy exhibition, consisting of original manu- 
scripts and letters, pictures, busts, illustrations, 
post-cards, and caricatures, all the great author's 



■ 


















THE JUBILEE OF 1908 



145 



published works, from the first to the last, in the 
Russian and European languages, a quantity of 
Russian and foreign literature on Tolstoy, and a 
collection of photographic portraits. So large a 
number of photographs as was here exhibited can 
never have been taken of any other man of note. 

At this exhibition it was decided that the pro- 
posed Tolstoy Museum should contain the greater 
part of the collections then on view, so that they 
might be always accessible to the public. 

An incident which occurred when Tolstoy passed 
through Moscow towards the end of 1909 reveals 
the enormous growth of his popularity. The local 
papers stated that at one o'clock p.m. he would take 
the train at the Kursk station for Yasnaya Polyana . 
By noon a large crowd of people had gathered, 
who enthusiastically greeted the beloved guest of 
Moscow, but rarely seen of late in that town. 












> 






K 


























































CHAPTER XVIII 






> 



TOLSTOYS FLIGHT AND DEATH 



The principal work of the last years of Tolstoy's 
life was the re-editing of " A Cycle of Reading " ; 
he wished to present with greater lucidity the 
treasure of the world's thoughts collected by him 
during many years. Modest in appreciation of his 



own work, to this " Cycle of Reading " he gave a 
great importance. 

" All my chatterings," he said, with his habitual 
severity to himself, " will be forgotten, but this 



work will survive." 

And it is the opinion of many of us that in it 
he has laid the foundation of the universal religion 
of which he dreamt in his youth. 

Simultaneously with this strenuous intellectual 

labour, and while carrying on a voluminous corre- 
spondence, a process of spiritual illumination was 
incessantly taking place within Tolstoy. His kind- 
ness, goodwill, and affability towards his innumer- 
able visitors, his modesty and austerity regarding 

himself, reached, in the last year of his life, 

146 


























TOLSTOY'S FLIGHT AND DEATH 147 

highest degree. This ennobling moral evolution 
rendered him more and more sensitive to his sur- 
roundings, which were in such contrast with his 
moral conceptions. 

This contrast he had felt acutely from the 
moment of his first spiritual awakening at the end 
of the seventies. Even then he had begun to think 
of the necessity of changing his surroundings, or 
of leaving them altogether. The latter always 
seemed to him so easy and attractive that he did 
not trust the impulse, deeming it a highly selfish 
act to procure peace and freedom for himself at the 
expense of his family's grief and suffering. There- 
fore he kept this solution of the problem in abey- 
ance until such time as he might become con- 
vinced that all the means he employed for the first 
method of solution had failed. But this period of 
suspense was often interrupted by painful scenes. 
At first these were of rare occurrence, then more 
frequent, until, in the last year of his life, they 
became almost incessant ; and those for the sake 

■ 

of whom he had sacrificed all that was most dear 
rendered his life unbearable. 

All who knew Tolstoy intimately are convinced 
that the idea to leave his home had been ripening 
in his mind for a long time. The proof of this is 
contained in a recently published letter to his wife, 




































148 THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 









Countess Sophie, written inQ897, which, however, 
he never sent to her. It bears the inscription, " To 
be delivered after my death." This letter explains 



so clearly and calmly the reasons for his departure 
that it is necessary to quote it in full : 







" Dear Sonya, — Already for a long time I have 
been tortured by the contradiction existing between 
my life and my religious convictions. I could not 
oblige you to change your life — the habits to which 







myself accustomed you — neither could I leave 
you till now, lest I should deprive the children whilst 
they were young of such small influence as I had on 
them, and grieve you. But I cannot continue living 






as I have lived these sixteen years, sometimes 
quarrelling with and irritating you, sometimes sub- 



mitting to the comfort to which I am accustomed 
and with which I am surrounded ; and now I have 
decided to carry out that which for a long time 
have wished to do — to go away ; firstly, because 
with my advancing years this life grows more and 




more trying, and I long for isolation ; secondly, 
because the children are grown up, my influence 
at home is no longer necessary, and you all have 
more absorbing interests^ which will make my 
r* absence unnoticeable. put especially, like the 



' v , 

Hindus who at the age of sixty retire to the forests 



9 






















TOLSTOY'S FLIGHT AND DEATH 149 

like every religious old man desires to devote the 
last years of his life to God, and not to jokes, games, 



gossip, or tennis, so I, reaching my seventieth 
year, with all the strength of my soul am seeking 



rest, isolation, and, if not absolute harmony, at 
least not a crying contradiction of my life with my 






convictions and conscience. If I carried out this 
plan openly there would be entreaties, disapproval, 



disputes, complaints, and I might be shaken and 
not accomplish my end. 



"So I pray you all forgive me if my act will 
grieve you — especially you, Sonya. Consent with 
good will to my going ; do not search for me ; do 
not complain ; and do not condemn me. 



a 



If I leave you, it is not a proof that I am 



dissatisfied with you. I know that you could not 
literally could not and cannot — see and feel as I 
do, and consequently you could not and cannot 
change your life and make sacrifices for that which 





you cannot conceive. Therefore I do not blame 
you, but on the contrary gratefully and lovingly 
remember the thirty-five years of our life together 
especially the first part, when you, with your inborn 
mother's devotion, so energetically and steadfastly 
followed what you considered your vocation. You 
have given me and the world what you could give ; 
you gave much motherly love and abnegation, and 
























/ 















150 THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 

that cannot be sufficiently appreciated. But during 
the last period of our life — the last fifteen years 
we have become estranged. I cannot think that I 
am wrong, because I know that I changed not for 
my own sake, not for that of others, but because I 
could not do otherwise. And neither can I blame 
you that you did not follow me ; on the contrary, 
thank you, and with love remember and will 
remember what you have given me. 




a 



Good-bye, dear Sonya. 



i 

r 

t 



a 



Yours lovingly, 



"Leo Tolstoy." 



8 



« " T .7 . I r>rM-r J> 



20 



July, 1897. 



A similar letter Tolstoy wrote to his wife in July, 
1910, enjoining her in the kindest, most touching, 
and loving terms to put aside her anxieties, and 
to be tranquil, adding that if she could not adopt 
this peaceful way he had decided to leave home. 

A week before carrying out his decision he spoke 



in detail about it to his friend Michael Novikoff, 
the peasant, to whom he said that he had firmly 
made up his mind to leave his home in the near 
future. On taking leave of him he added : 

" We shall soon see each other again." 
On November 6th he wrote to Novikoff : 
" In connection with what I told you the other 














TOLSTOY'S FLIGHT AND DEATH 151 





day I have to make the following request: 
really should come to you, could you not find for 
me in your village a separate and warm hut, how- 
ever small, so that I need not inconvenience you for 
long ? One thing more : if it should be necessary 
to send you a telegram I shall not sign it with my 



a 



name, but ' T. Nikolaef.' I shall await your 
answer. Friendly handshake. 

Do not forget that this must be between 
ourselves." 

On the morning of November 10th Tolstoy's 
final decision was taken. He rose early, and 
hurriedly made preparations for the journey. 
First of all he wrote a letter to his wife : 



" 4 o'clock. Morning of November 10, 1910. 



" My departure grieves you. I am sorry, but 
that I cannot act in another way, understand and 
believe. My position at home is becoming, and 



has become, unbearable. And, besides, I cannot 
continue to live in the condition of luxury in which 



I have lived, and I am going to do now what old 
people of my age usually do — retire from worldly 
life, in order to spend in peace and quietness the 

remainder of their existence. 

* c Please understand me and do not follow me, 
even if you know where I am. Such a course would 



























152 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 



make your and my position yet worse, but would 
not change my resolution. 

" I thank you for your forty-eight years honest 
life with me, and beg you to pardon me all my 



shortcomings, as I, from the depth of my soul, 
pardon whatever may have appeared to me faulty 






in you. I advise you to resign yourself to the new 
condition created by my departure, and not to feel 
any resentment against me. If you wish to com- 
municate with me, tell Sasha ; she will know where 
am and forward what is necessary. She cannot 
tell you where I am, as I took her promise not to 

■ 

divulge this to anyone. 







<< 



Leo Tolstoy. 



" P.S. — I told Sasha to collect and send me my 



manuscripts and things. 



?> 



Then he awoke his friend, Dr. Makovitski, and 
his daughter Sasha, and with their assistance 
packed, went to the stable, and ordered a carriage 
to take him and the doctor to the station at 

- 

Schekino. He was trembling during the drive, 
from fear of pursuit. At last he was in the train ; 
the train started. There had been no pursuit, and 
he calmed himself. Doubt as to the righteousness 
of his decision he had none, but pity awoke in him 
for his deserted wife. Towards evening the trav- 















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TOLSTOY'S FLIGHT AND DEATH i53 

ellers reached the Optin Monastery, spent the night 
there, and the following day continued the journey 
twelve miles further to the Shamardin Convent. 
Among the nuns there was Tolstoy's sister, Marie. 
She received him lovingly, and he felt so satisfied 
there that he intended to stay some time and even be- 
gan to make inquiries for a hut in the nearest village. 

But his health since his departure from home 
had not been satisfactory, and it became neces- 
sary to travel further. At first he had experienced 
only a feeling of weakness, then drowsiness, 
but soon after leaving Shamardin Convent he 
felt cold and feverish. Once more the journey 
had to be broken. The doctor and Sasha 
decided to stop at Astapovo, a station on the 
Ural-Ryazan railway. Tolstoy's intention had 
been to travel south without any fixed plan, 
hoping to come to a definite decision on the 
way. The good-natured station-master, Ivan 

Osolin, offered his apartments to Tolstoy, and his 
little house has consequently become a place of 
historic interest, and its fame is world-wide. 

Leo Tolstoy's end was near, for inflammation 
of the lungs set in. Gently and patiently bearing 
the physical suffering, he quietly ebbed away. In 
moments of consciousness and strength he con- 
versed with those around him, was interested in 






















































154 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 






letters, sometimes joked, and sometimes, impressed 
by the solemnity of the moment, uttered words of 
deep wisdom. His diary, kept till four days before 
his death, ends with the words : 



u 



Also my plan, fais ce que doit, adv 



* 



All 



is for the best, for others, and especially for myself." 

During the last days he more than once repeated : 



<< 



All is well 



all is simple and well . 



well 



yes, yes 



?> 



His death was so calm and peaceful that it 
actually had a tranquillising effect on those around 
him. After successive hours of heavy respiration, 
the breathing grew suddenly light and easy. A few 
minutes later this light breathing also ceased. There 
was an interval of absolute silence — no efforts, no 
struggle. Then two scarcely audible, deep, long- 
drawn sighs . . , 

On November 22nd the body was conveyed 

to the Saseka railway station, where it was met 

by a group of relations and near friends and a large 

crowd — mostly peasants, students, and deputations 

from Moscow. 

The imposing simplicity of the funeral made a 

touching and exalting impression. The chanting 

of the " De Profundis " by the many thousands 

following the rude coffin, which was borne by 

* Faia ce que doit, odvienne que pourra. 


















TOLSTOY'S FLIGHT AND DEATH 155 

peasants, heightened the impression. At the head 
of the cortege were two peasants, bearing an impro- 
vised banner of coarse linen, attached to two birch 
poles, with the inscription : 



The Memory op your Good Deeds will not 

die amongst us. 



The 
Orphaned Peasants op Yasnaya Polyana. 



The coffin was brought home to Yasnaya 
Polyana, and placed in a room on the ground floor. 
It was left open, and a vast number of people filed 
past to gaze once again, and for the last time, on 
the great teacher's beloved features. 

To the singing of funeral hymns the body was 
carried out by Tolstoy's sons. The assembled 
people knelt as it passed. Through the garden, 
through the wood, the coffin was carried, to the 
small ravine at the edge of the wood where, near 
the road, the grave had been prepared. On this 
spot, according to Leo Tolstoy, his brother Nicolas 
had buried the imaginary green wand on which 
was inscribed the way to make men happy. 
With contented, happy thoughts the great teacher 
of life had passed into eternity, and beside that 
symbol of universal happiness he had desired to 
be buried. 










































156 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 















When the body was lowered into the grave the 
people again knelt and, in deep silence, thousands 
of heads were bent in prayer. In the solemn 
hush, the thud of the frozen earth thrown on the 
lowered coffin was heard. 












• 



Soon the clods were heaped up over the grave 
and covered with wreaths and flowers. Beneath 
lay all the earthly remains of the beloved Grand 

■ 

Old Man. But his spirit is alive and hovering 

; he is present ; his words are sounding in 




over us 



our ears. 



It is our duty to strive with all our 
strength to realise his ideal of Love and Reason. 



_/ 






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LIST OF TOLSTOY'S WORKS 



Those works which are generally accepted as the 
most important are printed in blacker type. The dates 
show when the works were first published. 



NOVELS 



Childhood 
Boyhood 
Youth . 
Sebastopol . 

The Cossacks 

War and Peace 
Anna Karenin 

The Kreutzer Sonata 
Resurrection 

Hadji Murat . 
Father Sergius 



1852 
1854 

1855-57 
1854-55 

1861 

1 864-69 

1873-76 

1889 
1899 



Not yet published 
Not yet published 






PLAYS 

The Power of Darkness (drama) 

The Fruits of Enlightenment (comedy) 



1886 
1889 



The Corpse (unfinished drama) 



Not yet published 



157 






























158 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 






STORIES AND SKETCHES 



A Morning of a Landowner 

A Raid 

The Cutting of the Forest 

Notes of a Billiard Marker 

Two Hussars 

An Encounter 

The Snowstorm 

Lucerne . 

Albert . 

Three Deaths 

Family Happiness 

Polikushka 

The Decembrists 

The Prisoner of the Caucasus 

The Death of Ivan Ilyitch 
Holstomer 

A Talk Among Idle People 
Master and Servant 

Singing in the Village . 
Four Days in the Village 
The False Coupon . 
After the Ball 



1852 
1852 
1855 
1856 
1856 

1856 
1856 

1857 
1857 
1859 
1859 

1860 

1863-68 
1872 

1886 
1888 

1892 
1895 

1909 

1910 



Not yet published 
Not yet published 










AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL 



First Recollections 

Confession 



The Claim of Love (from his diary) 



1878 
1879 
1899 









LIST OF TOLSTOY'S WORKS 



i59 









EDUCATIONAL 

1 

The following were the chief articles among many 
which Tolstoy published in his review Yasnaya Polyana : 
A Project for a General Plan for Ele- 
mentary Schools .... 
On Popular Education .... 
Education and Instruction . 
Progress and the Definition of Instruction 



1861-62 



A Primer 



On Popular Instruotion 

A New Primer 



1872 
1874 
1875 



ETHICAL AND RELIGIOUS BOOKS AND ESSAYS 











A Criticism of Dogmatic Theology 

A Short Exposition of the Gospel . 

The Four Gospels Unified and Translated 

Church and State .... 

What is My Faith ? 

On Life 

The Love of God and of One's Neighbour 
Timothy Bondareff .... 

Why Do Men Intoxicate Themselves ? . 

On Non-Resistance .... 

The First Step (on vegetarianism) 

The Kingdom of God is Within You; or 

Christianity not as a Mystical Teaching 
but as a New Conception of Life 

Non-Activity 



1880 

1881 

1881 

1882 
1884 

1887 
1889 
1890 
1890 
1890 
1892 



1893 
1893 







































i6o 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 









The Meaning of the Refusal of Military Service 

Reason and Religion . . 

Religion and Morality • . . . 

Christianity and Patriotism. 

Non-Resistance (a letter to Ernest H. Crosby) 
How to Read the Gospels 
The Deception by the Church 

Christian Teaching 

On Suicide 

Thou Shalt Not Kill .... 

Reply to the Holy Synod 

The Only Way . . . 
On Religious Toleration .... 
What is Religion ? .... 

To the Orthodox Clergy. 

Thoughts of Wise Men (compilation) . 

The Only Need 

The Great Sin 

A Cycle of Reading (compilation) . 
Do Not Kill . . . . . 









Love Each Other . . 
An Appeal to Youth .... 
The Law of Violence and the Law of Love 
The Only Command .... 
For EYery Day (compilation) 






1893 
1894 
1894 
1894 
1896 
1896 
1896 
1898 
1900 
1900 
1901 
1901 
1901 
1902 

1903 
1904 

1905 
1905 

1906 
1906 

1906 

1907 
1908 
1909 
1909 



ART AND LITERATURE 



What is Art ? 



Art and Not Art 






1897 
1897 












LIST OF TOLSTOY'S WORKS 



161 









Shakespeare and the Drama .... 1906 

Prefaces to : 

A Translation of "Modern Science," by Edward Carpenter 
Dr. Alice Stockham's "Toxology" 
OrlofE's Albnm 

Amiel 

Free Translations of Stories by : 

Gny de Maupassant 
Bernardin de St. Pierre 







SHORT RELIGIOUS AND DIDACTIC STORIES AND 

TRACTS FOR THE PEOPLE 

4 

What People are Living By . 

Where Love is, There is God 

Two Old Men .... 

A Fire Neglected Consumes the House 

Nicolas Stick (Tsar Nicolas I.) 

Does a Man Require Much Land ? 

Ilias 

The Godson . 

The Three Hermits 

The Candle . 

The Repenting Sinner 

The First DistiUer 

Ivan the Fool 

The Empty Drum 

Walk in the Light While the Light is With You 

Three Parables ...... 

L 



1881 
1885 
1885 
1885 
1886 
1886 
1886 

1886 
1886 

1886 
1886 

1886 
1886 
1887 
1893 
1894 






























l62 



THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 






Esarheddon . 

Three Questions 

The Restoration of Hell 

Work, Death and Sickness 

A Prayer 

Berries .... 

Korney Vasilyeff . 

Why? .... 

The Divine and the Human 

A Letter on Science to a Peasant 
























1903 

1903 
1903 
1903 
1905 
1905 
1905 
1906 
1906 
1909 



by 



Posrednik 



Published 

death : 

False Beliefs 

Life in Reality . 

On Religion 

The Soul . 

Love . 

The Sexual Instinct 

God . 

Sins, Temptation and 

Excesses 

The Similarity of Men 

Pride 

Effort 

Wrath 

Vanity 

Parasitism . 

False Science 



after 



Tolstoy's 






Superstitions 



s Souls 



1911 












fc 





















LIST OF TOLSTOY'S WORKS 



163 



SOCIAL AND POLITICAL ESSAYS AND ADDRESSES 



The Census of Moscow (in 1882) 

Letter to M. A. Engelhardt . 

What Then Must We Do? . 

On Women . . 

* 

On Manual Labour 

t 

Mental Activity and Manual Labour 

Culture's Feast (on the anniversary of the Moscow 

University) .... 
Letter to a Revolutionist 
On the Famine (reports and letters) 
Shame ! (against corporal punishment) 
Patriotism and Peace 
To the Liberals 
To the Ministers . 
The Approach of the End 
A Letter to a Non-Commissioned Officer 

I 

On the Hague Peace Conference 

Two Wars 

Who Is to be Blamed ? 

Carthago Delenda Est 

The Slavery of our Times 

4 

Where is the Issue ? 

Patriotism and Government 

Is it Really Necessary % 

To the Tsar and his Associates 

; The Nearing End of the Age 
Mementoes for Soldiers . 



1882 

1882 

1886 

1886 

1887 
1888 



1889 

1889 

1891-93 

1895 

1896 
1896 
1896 
1896 

1897 
1899 
1899 
1899 
1899 
1900 
1900 
1900 
1900 
1901 
1901 
1901 
























164 THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY 



Mementoes for Officers 















To the Working People 

To Men of Politics 

To Social Reformers . 

Letter to Pietro Mazzini 

Bethink Yourselves 

In the Russian Revolution 



wholesale executions) 



The Inevitable Revolution 



three days after his death by the St. Peters- 
burg daily paper Rietch) . 



1901 



On the Working-Class Problem . . . 1902 

Letters to the Tsar 






1902 
1902 
1903 

1903 
1903 
1904 
1904 



How to Emancipate the Working Classes . 1905 

A Great Injustice (on the land problem) . 1905 

On the Social Movement in Russia . . 1905 

The End of the Age 

An Appeal to the People .... 
On Military Service ..... 
On the Meaning of the Russian Revolution . 1906 

What Must be Done ? 

An Appeal to the Government, the Revolutionists 

and the People ..... 






1905 
1906 
1906 



1906 



1907 



The Only Solution of the Land Question . 1907 

I Cannot be Silent (a protest against the 



1908 



Concerning MolochnikofFs Arrest . . . 1908 

The Annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina . 1908 



1909 



An Address to the Stockholm Peace Conference 1909 

An Efficient Remedy (last article, published 






1910 
















































INDEX 



Agricultural colonies of intellectual 

| people formed, 112 
Alexander II., Assassination of, 96 
Alexander III., Tolstoy's letter to, 96 
Amiel, Tolstoy's translation of, 129 

Anna Karenin, 83 

" Ante' Brotherhood, The," 14 

Arsenef, Valerie, 40 



Behrs, A. S., 82 

Behrs, Sophie. (See Tolstoy, Countess) 

Berries, 142 

Bethink Yourselves, 139 

Birthday, Celebrations of Tolstoy's 

\ eightieth, 143 

Bondaref, Timothy, 111 

Boyhood, 19 

Burial of Tolstoy, 155 








Candle, The, 104 

Capital punishment, Tolstoy's con* 

demnation of, 42, 77 
Censor and Tolstoy's works, The, 106, 

109, 120 
Census of 1882, The, 97 
Childhood, 34 
Childhood, Boyhood, and Youth, 11 

Christian Teaching, 135 
Christianity and Patriotism, 128 
Confession, 42, 65, 90, 109 
Cossacks, The, 27, 28, 33, 69 
Crimean War, Outbreak of the, 35 



Criticism of Dogmatic Theology, A , 94 
Cycle of Reading, A, 142, 146 



Death of Tolstoy, 154 

Decembrists, The, 70 

Departure from home, Tolstoy's, 147- 

53 
Deroulede, Paul, 115 
Divine and the Human, The, 142 
Dostoevsky, Feodor Mikhailovitch, 

His criticism of Anna Karenin, 84 
Dukhobors, Tolstoy and the, 131-5 



Education and Instruction, 60 
Education, Tolstoy and, 46, 51, 54, 

55, 57-63, 65, 80 
Excesses, Tolstoy's condemnation of 

human, 120 
Excommunication of Tolstoy, 136 
Executions, Tolstoy and the Russian, 

143 



Fame, Tolstoy's world-wide, 142 
Famine, Tolstoy's efforts to alleviate, 

86, 124-7 
" Fanfaron Hill," 11, 15 
"Fet, A." (Afanasy Afanasievitch 

Shenshin), 40, 46, 50, 55, 69, 71 
Fire Neglected Consumes the House, A, 

104 
First Recollections, 11 
First Step, The, 120 



165 





















1 66 



INDEX 






Unified and 



The, 94 



Franco-Russian Alliance, Tolstoy's 

criticism of the, 128 
" Free Age Press, The," 134, 135 
Frey, William, 114 
Fruits of Enlightenment, The, 122 



Gapon demonstration, The, 140 

Gay, N., 116, 123 

George, Henry, Tolstoy's sympathy 

with, 78, 114, 143 
God Sees the Truth, 104 
Gorchakoff, Princess Pelagie, 5, 18 



Herzbn, Alexander, 54 



/ Cannot be Silent, 143 
Illness, Tolstoy's last, 153 
Ivan the Fool, 104 



Kennan, George, 114 

Khomyakoff, A., 48 

Kingdom of God is Within You, The, 

127 
Korney Vasilyef, 142 

Kreutzer Sonata, The, 121 



Land, The nationalisation of, 78, 114, 

143 
Law of Violence and the Law of Love, 

The, 143 



Makovitski, Dr., 152 
Markoff, Eugene, 61 
Massarik, Professor, 115 
Master and Servant, 129 

"Mauer, Carl." (See Ressel, Theo- 

dore) 

Maupassant, Guy de, Tolstoy's trans- 
lation of, 129 






Mazzini, Tolstoy's translation of, 129 
Mediator, Tolstoy a, 55 
Mikhailovsky, N. K., 81 
Military duties, Movement to refuse 

113 
Morning of a Landowner, A, 24 
Moscow Literary Society. The. 48 






• 



Nekrasoff, N., 34 
New Primer, A, 81 
Nobility, Anger of, against Tolstoy, 

55 
Non-activity, 129 
Novikoff, Michael, 150 









On Life, 117-20 



Peter the Great, Tolstoy's criticism 

of, 82 

Photographic portraits of Tolstoy, 145 
Police search of Yasnaya Polyana, 64 
Polikushha 9 69 

Popular Instruction, On, 58 
Popular tales, circulation of Tolstoy's, 

103 
Portraits of Tolstoy, 116, 146 
Posrednik, The, 101, 103, 115, 129 
Poverty and riches, Tolstoy's views 

on, 98-101 
Power of Darkness, The, 106 j 

Prayer, A, 142 

Prisoner of the Caucasus, The, 104 
Pushkin, Alexander, Tolstoy's appre- 
ciation of, 83 



Quakers' sympathy with Tolstoy, 113 






Reading-books, Tolstoy publishes, 81 
Repin, Eliah, 117 
Ressel, Theodore, 12 
Resurrection, 133 



















INDEX 






Russo-Japanese War, Outbreak of the, 

139 



St. Pierre, Bernardin de, Tolstoy's 

translation of, 129 
Sebastopol, 38 
Serfs, Emancipation of the, 54 



ainst 



121 



Shakers' sympathy with Tolstoy, 113 
Shakespeare, Tolstoy's article on, 143 
Shibunin, Tolstoy's defence of, 76 

■ 

Single tax system, The, 79, 114, 143 
Sitin, T. D., 103 

Sovremennik, The," 34, 39 
Stary-Yurt, 27 
Strakhoff, N., 81 
Strannolubsky, A. N., 81 
Sutaieff, 110 



<< 



Tchertkoff, V. G., 103, 109, 134 
Temperance society organised by Tol- 
stoy, 120 
Thoughts of Wise Men, 139 
Three Deaths, 48 
Tolstoy, Count Eliah, 2 

, Count Nicolas, 6, 7, 18 
, Count Peter, 2 

, Countess, 66, 147-52 
, Dimitri, 14, 16 

exhibition, The, 144 
family, The, 1 

, Leo, birth, 1 ; childhood, boy- 
hood, and youth, 11-25 ; early 
religious influences, 17 ; stu- 
dent days at Kazan Univer- 
sity, 20-4 ; his early philo- 
sophy, 21 ; first literary work, 
21 ; his irregular life in Mos- 
cow, 24 ; journeys to the 
Caucasus, 26 ; falls in love 



167 



with Zenaide Molostoff, 
his regeneration, 31 ; joins 



army 



active 



35 ; resigns his commission, 
35, 38 ; at Sebastopol, 36-8 ; 
first foreign tour, 40 ; attach- 
ment to Valerie Arsenef , 40 ; 
in Paris, 41 ; in Switzerland, 
43-6 ; adventure with a bear. 



ymnas 



ural 



Moscow 



Soden 



sick brother, Nicolas, 51 ; 
takes Nicolas to Hyeres, 52 ; 
second foreign tour, 54 ; ill- 



mama 



thrown 



72; 






the religious note sounds in his 
literary work, 85 ; assists 
starving population of the 
Samara province, 86 ; the 
spiritual crisis, 88-94 ; re- 
moval to Moscow, 97 ; offers 
his services to the Moscow 
municipality for the census, 
98 ; renunciation of luxuries, 
99 ; his physical labours, 100, 
105 ; begins to write tales for 
the people, 102 ; accident in 
the hay-field, resulting in ill- 
ness, 105 ; spread of his influ- 
ence, 109-117 ; his silver wed- 
ding, 116; turns his atten- 
tion to human excesses, 120 ; 
labours in the famine area, 

124-7 ; excommunicated by 
the Holy Synod, 136; dan- 
gerous illness, 137 ; removal 
to the Crimea, 138 ; return 
to Yasnaya Poly ana, 139 ; 
























i68 



INDEX 









r 












eightieth birthday, 



143; 
ripening of the idea to leave 
his home, 147 ; extreme 
sensitiveness to his surround- 
ings, 147 ; farewell letters to 
his wife, 148-52 ; his depar- 
ture, 152 ; sudden illness, 153 ; 
his death, 154 ; buried at 

Yasnaya Poly ana, 155 
Tolstoy Museum, The, 144 

Nicolas (Leo's brother), 13, 47, 

50-3 
Sasha, 152, 153 
Sergius, 13, 16 
Tolstoy's father. (See Tolstoy, Count 

Nicolas) 
mother. (See Volkonsky, Prin- 
cess Marie) 
To the Tsar and his Associates, 138 
Translations of Tolstoy's works, 109, 

128 
Trubetskoy, Princess Catherine, 3 
Truth, Tolstoy's search for, 65, 87-96 
Turgenef, Ivan Sergeitch, 13, 39, 41, 

50, 55 
Two Old Men. 104 









\ 



Urusoff, Prince Leonide, 109 



Vegetarianism, 99, 120 
Volkonsky family, The, 

, Prince John, 3 
, Prince Nicolas, 3 
. Princess Marie. 1 



1 



109 



War and Peace, 71, 73-6 
What is Art ? 135 
What is My Faith ? 94, 95, 
What People are Living By, 104 
What then Must we Do ? 98 
Where Love is, There is God, 104 
Why? 142 

Why do Men Intoxicate Themselv 

120 
Wish is Stronger tlian Bondage, The, 



Polyana, 1 
searched by the police, 64 
" Yasnaya Polyana, The/' 58, 61, 80 
Yazykoff, S., 7 
Yeremeevna, 11 
Yergolsky, Tatiana, 11 
Youth, 22 
Yurodivy Gregory, 17 






Yushkoff 



18, 20 



Zabulovsky, Alexis, 113 









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